October 2017 News

Rohingya Camps In J&K Seen As Potential Hunting Ground For Terror Groups

2 October 2017
LiveMint
Shaswati Das

New Delhi: Nearly two months after the home ministry said the infiltration of Rohingya from Myanmar's Rakhine state had begun to pose serious security problems for India, intelligence officials suspect that they have links with Pakistan-backed terror groups as well. On Sunday, the Centre approved the setting up of two immigration checkpoints along India's borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh in order to check the influx of Rohingya refugees into the country. Intelligence units welcomed the move, citing the mushrooming of Rohingya camps in areas close to Jammu and Kashmir, stating that the these camps-if allowed to flourish-would become the hunting ground for terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). While security forces have been engaged in gunbattles with militant groups in Kashmir, intelligence officers have warned that this will only exacerbate the trouble in Kashmir. The Rohingya, officials said, would not find asylum in the northeast, since insurgencies in the region are based on tribal alliances. 'There are intelligence reports to prove that the Rohingyas have links to the Islamic State (IS) and the Al-Qaeda. They have also been trying to make their way to Jammu and that is extremely dangerous because there is a huge risk of them being inducted into terror camps in Kashmir, which will only worsen the Kashmir problem,' said a senior intelligence officer, requesting anonymity. The separatists in Kashmir, officials added, have already agreed to granting asylum and financial support to the Rohingya Muslims. 'The separatists in Kashmir have already pledged financial support to the Rohingyas. This already has intelligence units on tenterhooks because this kind of support is incentive enough for the Rohingyas to want to make their way to Kashmir because the northeast insurgent groups will not allow them to flourish in the northeastern region,' the officer added. Senior central government officials said the situation was for the Myanmar government to control. 'There needs to a UN (United Nations) intervention in this issue. It is not for the Indian government to take on the responsibility of 400,000 immigrants and India can't be equated with Europe and the refugee crisis. The Burmese government had also recently cancelled the UN visit to Rakhine state recently,' said a senior central government official, who did not wish to be named. Experts stated that the Indian government's policy was being dictated by its past experience of having permitted Bangladeshi migrants into the country. This time, it is determined not to repeat the error. 'The government's rhetoric is wrong. Their policy is dictated by the case of Bangladeshi migrants. Once they're allowed in, you can't send them back because their country will not take them back. So now the government is trying to substantiate that argument by saying that they have terror links,' said Kishalaya Bhattacharjee, author and an expert on northeastern affairs.

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