Fate has, no doubt, dealt Rohingyas a difficult hand. After barely escaping a vicious regime in their home country of Myanmar, many Rohingya refugees were trying to rebuild their lives in other places. Forty such families, comprising 60 men, 52 women and 13 children, have been living in Bengaluru’s Dasarhalli area for seven years, but are now facing another challenge.
Seven Rohingya refugees were abducted and many others assaulted at the settlement recently. Their valuables including Rs 40,000/- in cash as well as their mobile phones were also snatched away. The families have now approached the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for help through the Law and Policy Research Institute (LAPRI).
LAPRI program director Zia Nomani has written to the Chief of Mission drawing attention to the harassment faced and assault on Rohingya families that live in the area. Nomani’s letter paints a grim picture as he recounts the shocking events, “The instant dispute pertains to a series of incidents that took place in October 2020. I have been informed that on or about October 27, 2020, about 7 individuals, namely Mr. Hilal, Mr. Masoom, Mr. Javed, Mr. Ali, Mr. Farooq, Mr. Kukan and one unknown person came to the Rohingya settlement at around 5 PM and demanded a ‘hafta’ or a regular fee as a license or permission for them to carry on the rag picking work in the area. At that time, reportedly, few Rohingyas were present and spoke with the above mentioned 7 individuals.”
Nomani further writes, “Mr. Anwar Hussain, Mr. Dilwar, Mr. Mohd Zubair, Mr. Abdul Salam, Mr. Mujibullah, Mr. Mohd Zakir, Mr. Mohd Farooq and Mr. Arif refused to pay any money as license to carry on rag picking work. It may be noted that the Rohingya community has been living in this settlement over the last 7 years and have not faced such an illegal demand until now. Upon refusal, all of them were brutally assaulted.”
Nomani shares how even the women were not spared, “One Mrs. Maryam, who is 6 months pregnant and other women including Mrs. Arfa Begum, Mrs. Ismat Ara, Mrs. Minuwara and Mrs. Senuwara were also assaulted. Mobile phones of victims, cash of Rs. 40,000/-, one gold chain, tarpaulin sheets and ration were stolen by the assaulters.”
LAPRI has urged the UNHCR to “intervene suitably with relevant authorities so that the harassment of the community stops”.
Nomani’s entire letter may be read here:
LAPRI has helped the families file an FIR with the Amrutahalli Police Station. The FIR may be viewed here: