Around 3,950 Rohingyas are staying in half a dozen settlements in the Old City of Hyderabad, which is a Muslim hub. The number of Rohingyas living there has doubled in the last three years as many of them were forced to leave Jammu and Kashmir due to security reasons.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the links of a few Rohingya Muslims to some terror incidents in the country, is of the view that the refugees are a security threat to the country owing to their social and economic conditions. As Rohingyas are in touch with Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups fighting for their cause, the chances of their colluding with terror outfits are considered high.
Rohingya Muslims, who had been targeted by Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar for the last two decades, have taken shelter in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kashmir. They feel secure in Hyderabad as they can easily mingle with the local Muslims, both culturally and religiously. The MHA in a circular, issued to all Director Generals of Police (DGPs) in the second week of August, asked them to ensure that all illegal refugees from Myanmar are sent back to the country without delay, sources in Telangana police told The Sunday Guardian. Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma held a meeting with the Hyderabad police officers on 11 and 12 August to act on the directive. City Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy later asked all the ACPs in the city to find out the exact number of illegal Rohingyas, who do not have valid identity cards issued by the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). An estimated 600 to 800 Rohingyas are believed to be in the city without such identity cards. Most of them are poor daily wage earners.
Most of them are staying in the slums of Chandrayangutta, Balapur, Kishanbagh, Mir Momin Pahad, Shaheen Nagar and Kanchanbagh around the Old City. Several NGOs including Amnesty International are working for the rehabilitation of these refugees with UNCHR cards.
Till 2012-2013, there were no major criminal charges against the Rohingyas, barring exceptions. They later came under the scanner of the NIA for their terror links.
As they were targeted on religious grounds in Myanmar, these Rohingyas have become easy prey to the Muslim terror groups. The lure of money and the desire to avenge their religious persecution are prompting these refugees to join the terror modules, said a senior police officer with the South Zone of Hyderabad police. The NIA had registered two terror cases involving Rohingyas in Hyderabad in the last three years. In 2014, the premier investigating agency had caught Mohammad Khaleed, a Rohingya, in connection with a blast in West Bengal. Khaleed, a resident of Balapur settlement in Hyderabad, was found to have travelled to West Bengal and Bangladesh many times and was trained by Tehreek-e-Azadi Arkan.
Though Tehreek-e-Azadi Arkan, a terror group operating from Bangladesh, fights for the cause of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the way the group carried out a bomb blast at Bardhaman in West Bengal indicates its intention to create trouble in India. Khaleed, after his arrest by the NIA, confessed to having links with several other Bangladesh based terror outfits. In 2015, the NIA unearthed another terror network where Zia Ur Rahman, a Rohingya from the city along with a Pakistani, Mohammad Nasre, tried to send a batch of Myanmar Muslims to Saudi Arabia, by creating fake Indian passports. The cops have arrested Zia Ur Rahman besides two special branch constables, Shaik Saleem and A. Ahmed, for helping them in creating fake passports.
“This is a serious issue. We want to follow the guidelines of MHA which wants to send back all illegal Rohingyas staying in the city. But, at the same time, we want to allow Rohingyas with UNCHR issued identity cards to continue staying here. We will screen each and every Rohingya staying here,” Telangana Home Minister Naini Narasimha Reddy told this reporter.