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India seeks to deport Rohingya refugees from Kashmir

08:39 12 April 2021 Author :  

A group of refugees, including members of the Rohingya community, are facing deportation from India-administered Jammu and Kashmir, local media claimed Saturday. Meanwhile, Pakistan on Friday accused India of continuing the "extra-judicial killings" of innocent Kashmiris, calling for impartial investigations to be carried out under international supervision.

It is not clear how many of the group are Rohingya refugees, hundreds of whom have been staying in Jammu since 2007.

Aseem Sawhney, the additional advocate-general for the region, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Home Department of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir could provide details on the origins of the people in the group.

Several attempts by AA to contact officials of the department proved futile.

A report by a local media outlet, Kashmir News Observer, quoted Sawhney as saying that a person booked under the preventive detention law or another pertaining to foreigners cannot be brought out of jail for deportation without a court's permission.

Therefore, state prosecutors will withdraw cases against these individuals to pave the way for their eventual repatriation, according to the report.

Sawhney was also quoted as saying that the Indian and Bangladeshi governments have finalized formalities for the deportation.

Last month, the Jammu and Kashmir government – directly ruled by New Delhi since being stripped of its special status in 2019 – placed some 150 Rohingya refugees in a "holding center” set up in a jail in the Kathua district.

A police official told AA at the time that the process of identifying the illegal immigrants was started after approval from India's Home Ministry.

Mohammad Haneef, a Rohingya representative, said the community was distressed over the developments.

According to Haneef, there are over 6,000 Rohingya refugees living in 39 camps in the Jammu region, where right-wing groups have been demanding their eviction and deportation.

Pakistan accuses India of unabated killing of Kashmiris

"Extra-judicial killings in the illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian Occupation forces continued unabated during the past week as well, and 10 more Kashmiris were martyred in Pulwama and Shopian districts," Pakistan's Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told a weekly news briefing.

Indian security forces on Friday claimed to have killed seven militants including a top leader of the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, in separate gunfights in the Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama and Shopian districts in the past 24 hours. So far this year, over 30 people have been killed in clashes with Indian forces.

"Pakistan has repeatedly called for independent investigations under international scrutiny into the extra-judicial killings of all innocent Kashmiris," Chaudhri said.

The statement came a day after the Pakistan military said it stands in "complete solidarity" with the people of Kashmir in their struggle for the right to self-determination.

He added that his country consistently stresses the need for unhindered access to U.N. human rights bodies, international human rights groups and the media to assess the human rights situation in Kashmir.

"We are also concerned over the continuing military siege, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership, unprecedented restrictions on fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people and ongoing efforts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, in clear violation of international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention," he said.

India always claims that its security forces target militants, but Islamabad rejects this rationale, saying Indian forces are killing innocent people who are struggling for the right to self-determination under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Last year, the Indian Army admitted in a statement that in July, its soldiers in southern Kashmir overstepped their authority by killing three civilians who were not militants.

That month, three young cousins who had left home for work in Shopian were killed by the Indian Army, which falsely labeled them militants.

Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. China also holds a small sliver of Kashmir.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the region's conflict since 1989./agencies

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