JK High Court seeks UT govt response on illegal Myanmar, Bangladesh immigrants


Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir High Court here on Wednesday sought UT government’s response to a public interest litigation seeking appointment of a judicial officer to identify  all illegal immigrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh who have been staying in Jammu and Kashmir.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and first puisne judge Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, after hearing petitioner’s counsel Sunil Sethi directed the Government to file its response in a month  as to what measures it is taking or proposes to take to identify illegal immigrants and to take proper action with regard to them.

The petitioner Hunar Gupta advocate happens to be incharge of J&K BJP’s Human Rights Cell and his counsel Sunil Sethi advocate, chief spokesperson of the BJP in the Union Territory.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the UT to shift all the illegal immigrants from Jammu and Kashmir to any other place as no refugee camp has ever been declared either by the State of J&K or by the United Nations here. He further sought a direction to the UT administration to withdrawal of all benefits given to illegal Bangladesh and Myanmar immigrants from the scheme and benefits meant for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pointing out that there has been abrupt increase in the number of illegal immigrants from these two countries, the PIL said that as per government their number is 13,400 fromMyanmar and Bangladesh. However, the actual figures are much more, it said, adding  following their declaration as “non-national’’ by the Myanmar government in 1982, they started migrating to neighboruing  Bangladesh, Thailand and even Pakistan. However they were not welcomed in these countries as well leading to their influx into India through porous boarder with Bangladesh.

Almost 1,700 Rohangia families comprising approximately 8,500 souls (official figures are 1286 and 5000) live in various settlement colonies of Jammu and Kashmir, the PIL pointed out. The land mafia in order to encroach upon the state land and natural resources of the state especially forest areas as well as water bodies, first settle these illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar, it added.

The petitioner submitted that many of these illegal immigrants have illegally acquired ration card, voter card, adhar cards as well as permanent resident certificates. They are suspected to be involved in various anti-national activities such as drug trafficking, hawala transactions etc., at the behest of enemies of the Nation, he said.

Pointing out that their presence will be increase in pro-separatists as well as anti-Indian activities in J&K especially the communally sensitive Jammu region which has so far displayed maturity and tolerance, the PIL sought immediate and necessary directions to the respondents for the shifting of these immigrants to their native places.