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Rohingyas: The southern sojourn and how a Kerala govt scheme is giving them cover


New Delhi, Oct 5: Deporting the Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar could be the first step by the government of India, which has decided to deal with the issue with an iron fist. The Union Government has often spoken about the huge security risk, where the Rohingyas are concerned.

The Home Ministry says that there are over 14,000 UNHCR registered Rohingyas in India. The security agencies however say that the number is over 40,000. Majority of these people are found in Jammu, Hyderabad, Delhi, UP and Rajasthan.

Rohingyas: The southern sojourn and how a Kerala govt scheme is giving them cover

With the scrutiny high in these areas, over the years, the Rohingyas gradually moved down South and today have found shelters in states such as Karnataka and Kerala as well.

Also Read | Deporting Rohingyas and the impact of Supreme Court's latest verdict

The Rohingyas move places with the help of touts. However in Kerala, a government health scheme has come in handy and this is being misused. The AAWAZ health insurance scheme has come in handy for the illegal immigrants. Data with the Ministry for Home Affairs states that, Kerala has issued nearly 62,000 registration cards to migrant workers. Moreover no real effort has gone in to sort out the illegal immigrants including Rohingyas from the migrants, officials in the Home Ministry tell OneIndia.

The southern sojourn:

The IB had after the publication of the NRC had sounded an alert stating that more people from Assam could infiltrate into southern states. The respective state police have been told to keep a close watch on the borders and also track down touts who have been aiding illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The alert is particularly high in states such as Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal.

Also Read | India hands over 7 Rohingyas to Myanmar as SC refuses to intervene

A high alert had also been sounded along the Assam-Bengal border after the final draft of the NRC was released by the Assam government. The forces had been asked to intensify vigil along the border to stop any spill over or influx by those whose names do not feature in the list.

Officials say that the route into South India would be through Kerala, following which attempts would be made to infiltrate into the other southern states such as Telangana and Karnataka. They would be brought in as estate labour like has been done in the past officials say. In the midst of all this, there is also talk in Kodagu district, Karnataka, not to employe such persons until and unless they have a valid Indian citizenship document.

Kerala has always had an issue with migrant labour. There has been a high influx of migrant population from West Bengal and this has made it easy for the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshi blend:

An official from Kerala tells OneIndia that the Bangladeshi's blend with the Bengali speaking population and there is no proper or effective mechanism to identify them.

Officials point out that the problem becomes harder to deal with as the population is a floating one. They move from one state to another with the help of touts and this makes it even harder to keep tabs on them.

Also Read | 'Huge number of Rohingyas travelling to Kerala via trains', says Railway Protection Force

Moreover illegal immigration from Bangladesh extended up to Kerala through the migration corridor.

This corridor starting at Bangladesh connects to Kerala through Assam and West Bengal. The illegal immigrants also find Kerala to be a good place to live in as it has the country's highest wage rate in the unorganised sector. Further the chances of interceptions are less in Kerala and this has made the place even more ideal to be in.

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