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7 children among 24 Rohingya refugees arrested in Assam

Earlier this week the Home Ministry told parliament that those entering the country illegally, including the Rohingya, would be considered a "threat to national security".

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Guwahati: At least nine Rohingya refugees, including three women and a child, were arrested from the railway station here on Sunday morning. They were allegedly carrying fake UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) ID cards, the NDTV reported.

On Saturday, 15 Rohingya, including six children, were arrested in Badarpur in Karimganj district as they tried to board a Tripura-bound train.

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Sources said that since none of the 15 detained yesterday had valid papers, their arrest is being treated as a case of illegal entry. A Railway Police official said they had travelled to Assam from Uttar Pradesh, where they were tried looking for jobs, and were trying to return to Bangladesh.

Located in southern Assam, Karimganj district shares borders with Bangladesh and Tripura.

Earlier this week the Home Ministry told parliament that those entering the country illegally, including the Rohingya, would be considered a “threat to national security”.

Junior Home Minister Nityanand Rai said foreign nationals entering India without valid travel documents, or who continued to stay in the country after their documents had expired, were to be treated as “illegal migrants” and dealt with in line the existing legal provisions.

India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention and rejects a UN position that deporting Rohingya violates the principle of refoulment – sending refugees back to face danger.

In April the Supreme Court – ruling on the fate of Rohingya in Jammu and Kashmir – stayed their immediate deportation, saying the prescribed process had to be followed.

Indian authorities monitoring Bangladesh border have arrested several Rohingya over the past months.

In December, 13, including six children, were arrested in Karimganj district. Police sources said they were from Cox’s Bazar and were trying to reach Delhi, Hyderabad or Jammu in search of work. A month before that police said they arrested eight for trying to illegally enter India via Myanmar.

More than 7.3 lakh Rohingya Muslims – one of Myanmar’s largest minority ethnic groups – fled their homeland in 2017 after a deadly crackdown, which the United Nations would later call “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

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