By Maya Palit
It appears that the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party and certain BJP legislators in Jammu are now campaigning for the eviction of Rohingya Muslims from Jammu, who had settled there after fleeing violent riots in Myanmar in 2012 Although the state government has taken a stand refusing to expel the community, hoardings sprang up around Jammu earlier this month, with calls to save the integrity of the Dogra community by evicting Bangladeshi Muslims: “Wake Up Jammu, Rohingyas, Bangladeshis, Quit Jammu” and “Let us all Jammuities unite to save History, Culture and Identity of Dogras”.
This comes at the same time that shocking new reports are surfacing about how the refugee crisis has affected women from the minority group in Myanmar. From women and minors as young as 13 years old attempting to flee Rakhine and being forcibly held in camps at the Thai-Malaysian border, to those who are subsequently trafficked and married off to Rohingya men in Malaysia after long and harrowing journeys, a report by Reuters reveals horrific stories after interviewing women refugees. It exposes the extent of the human rights violations against women from the Rohingya community as a consequence of both recent and decades-old military violence, and an organised and opportunistic trafficking industry, and corroborates information that was revealed by the UN earlier this month.
The crackdown by military forces against civilians from the minority group at the end of 2016 included atrocities like arson, killing of entire families, gang-rape, the rape of over 50 women who were interviewed, and the brutal murders of minors and infants as young as eight months. It goes without saying, then, that the expulsion of the persecuted community from Jammu would lead to further devastation and crimes against women, and has to be strongly resisted.