Plight of persecuted Myanmar Muslims
By SANJOY RAY, The Assam Tribune
GUWAHATI, Dec 13 – Two violence-hit teenage girls of the Rohingya Muslim community of Myanmar, who were arrested earlier this year for illegally entering India and later sent to an observation home in Guwahati, had a heart-rending story of human tragedy to tell.
After undergoing a series of counselling sessions, the minor girls from Myanmar finally submitted before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Assam (Guwahati), that it was after their respective parents were killed in front of their eyes during the violence in Myanmar this year that they decided to flee the neighbouring country fearing for their lives.
“The girls told the Court that they had no other choice after their families were killed during the ethnic clashes in Myanmar. They somehow managed to escape and a few days later sneaked in to the Indian side through Tripura,” said sources closely monitoring the developments of the Rohingya refugees in India.
“Our parents were killed and we would have been killed as well had we not fled the country. India seemed to be the only safe choice,” the girls, who are cousins, told the JJB on Friday. The case is now in the argument stage, sources told The Assam Tribune.
One of the girls even deposed before the Board that apart from killing her parents mercilessly, the miscreants also killed her brother and there was nobody left in their family.
Classified by many as the most persecuted community in Myanmar, thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled their country fearing for their lives and sought refuge in different countries, including India.
Sources at Dispur informed that at present there 28 Myanmar nationals lodged in the detention camps in the State.
The episode involving the girls has witnessed twists and turns from day one, when they were detained from the Guwahati Railway Station by the Government Railway Police (under Foreigners’ Act and Passport Act) in June this year when they were about to board a train to Jammu and Kashmir.
Although a claim for guardianship was put forward by a person from Jammu and Kashmir, the Board rejected the plea as the person in question could not produce any valid or admissible documents.
The Rohingya cousins were kept under the supervision at an observation home and nobody was allowed to meet them without prior permission from the Board, keeping their safety in mind.
Sources at Dispur told this reporter that if need be the matter would be taken up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other agencies concerned.
The minor girls probably tried to go to Jammu and Kashmir as many Rohingya families are already there, sources further said.