We escaped to India and lived peacefully in Jammu, but for the past two months, we are being threatened to leave the place. Slums in Bhagwati Nagar and Bori were burned down in front of us,” cried Hasina Begum. One of the 32 Rohingya Muslims, men, women and children, waiting outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) office in Delhi.

In the morning of 24 April, nine families escaped from Jammu and arrived at Delhi. They took their place outside the UNHCR office seeking help and relief.

Rohingyas are Muslim Indo-Aryans hailing from the Rakhine state in Myanmar. These people have been described as “one of the world’s most victimised minorities”. And for years, they have been deprived of the right to free movement and of higher education.


Imran Hussain, 21, with his UNHCR card provided by United Nation High Commissioner for Rights. (Tehreem Fatima)
Mohammad Alam, 32, waiting outside the UNHRC office seeking help and relief (Tehreem Fatima)

In the month of February, the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party started demanding the removal of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi refugees from Jammu and Kashmir by putting up hoardings across the city, asking its people to “Wake Up” and “Unite to save history, culture, and identity of Dogra’s”.

The plight of the Rohingyas in Jammu revealed that they were getting threats from right-wing political parties and the traders.

Youngest daughter of Jahan Rakhta crying for food. (Tehreem Fatima)
Widow Hasina Begum, mother of three was threatened to leave past two months (Tehreem Fatima)
Umar, 7 months old sleeping outside the UNHCR office while his brother sits next to him. (Tehreem Fatima)

Mohammad Ayub (24), his wife Arfa Begum (20), along with his two children escaped from Jammu when they started getting threats. He worked as a rag-picker in Jammu and earned a living of Rs 50-150 per day which satisfied their daily needs.

UNHCR officials in Delhi said, “Refugees and asylum-seekers who have moved to Delhi will be benefited from available UNHCR and it’s partner services which facilitates access to basic services. These include health and education, counseling, livelihoods, language training and youth and community-based programs.”

Maybe there is some hope for them.

But for now, they have no where to go and they have no jobs. The wait goes on.

The author is a Delhi-based freelance photographer.