Guwahati, Oct 4: Seven Rohingya Muslim men, arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Assam, were on October 4 officially handed over to Myanmar authorities at Manipur’s border town Moreh.
The deportation from the immigration point at Moreh Gate No 2 took place at 1 p.m. soon after the Supreme Court rejected the plea to intervene in the case.
Immigration officials from Tamu, the Myanmar town nearest Moreh, took custody of the seven men after completing the formalities with their Indian counterparts and police officials from Assam and Manipur.
The Myanmar officials were Aung Myo, Tamu District Immigration Officer and Maun Maun Tar, Tamu Town Shed Officer. On the Indian side of the border, Moreh Sub-Divisional Police Officer M. Sandip Gopaldas, Immigration officer Mohammed Tajuddin Khan and P.V.V. Rakesh Reddy, Additional SP of Assam’s Cachar district led the proceedings.
Reddy and his team had escorted the Myanmar nationals from Silchar Central Jail in Cachar district, in a bus to Manipur capital Imphal the previous morning. The bus left Imphal for Moreh, 105 km away, at 9.30 a.m. on October 4.
Earlier in the day, the government told the apex court that the seven Rohingya men had entered India illegally in 2012, were convicted under the Foreigners Act and kept at Assam’s Silchar detention camp.
According to the list of deportees provided by the police at Moreh, the seven are from Keito village under Chetpak police station in Myanmar’s Rakhine. They had settled at Nagatilla near Silchar after sneaking into Assam eight years ago.
But an international report quoted a press release issued from Geneva stating that the men are from Kyauk Daw township in central Rakhine State.
The Rohingya have been usually found to enter India from three townships in Myanmar – Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in Northeastern Rakhine State that borders Bangladesh.
Reddy, who monitored the deportation exercise, said that consular access had been granted to the Myanmar government that verified the identities of the seven men.
“It is a routine exercise. I spoke with the Manipur DGP and exchanged necessary matter to facilitate the process,” said Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Additional Director-General of Assam Police’s Border Organisation. This organisation deals with detection and deportation of foreigners in Assam.
Apart from these seven, Assam has 32 Rohingya including a few minors across five detention centres other than Silchar. Manipur’s Sajiwa Central Jail has 22 Rohingya caught five years ago.
Tripura has some Rohingya people who crossed over from Bangladesh over the past five years, but the State police and Mobile Task Force did not provide details.
Among the Rohingya in Manipur jail is Mohammed Hussain. He was 19 when he was caught entering India illegally from Myanmar in February 2012.
His term expired six months later, but the Myanmar government’s reluctance to accept him and the others has made him stay in jail.
Hussain fled Rawayungdaung village in Myanmar’s Rakhine State when the violence was sporadic. “I want to be free, but jail in India is better than freedom back home,” he said when the prison authorities facilitated an interaction with the media in November 2017.
Source: The Hindu