In a crucial development, Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina has said that 10 lakh Rohingyas who fled from Myanmar to her country following “persecution” are “threat to the security” of the entire region. She also urged the global community to resolve the issue. She made this remark while addressing a three-day event, ‘Dhaka Global Dialogue-2019’. She said, “In terms of regional security, I would like to say that more than 1.1 million Rohingya citizens of Myanmar fled to Bangladesh in the face of persecution and they are a threat to the security not only for Bangladesh but also for the region.” Bangladesh’s national news agency, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), has quoted her as saying, “I urge the world community to take appropriate action realising the gravity of the threat. It will not be possible to ensure development and prosperity of any country without having peace and safety.”
What the Bangladesh PM has stated about the Rohingya immigrants is not without substance. The terror outfit of the Rohingya Muslims, Aqa Mul Mujahidin, reportedly has links with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI and Pakistan-sponsored terror outfits, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). In fact, on June 1 2017, Hafiz Saeed had urged the Rohingya Muslims to join his jihad movement to wage war against India for supporting Myanmar’s stand on Rohingya issue.
The LeT is recruiting Rohingyas to offer them help in seeking revenge against the Buddhists of Myanmar. Rohingya Muslims have been targeted for the purposes of radicalisation by Islamic extremists in the past and the Islamic State (IS) has been successful in recruiting few Rohingyas who went to Iraq and Syria to fight for the ISIS. Moreover, Al Qaeda has also supported Rohingyas in the Indian subcontinent. Therefore, Rohingya Muslims remain central to the leading Islamist terror organisations. Both Bangladesh and Indian security personnel therefore look at the presence of radicalised Rohingya Muslims are a big threat to the security of the region.
India shares a porous border with Bangladesh making it easier for a Rohingya immigrants to cross the border into India. There are 11 lakh-odd illegal Rohingya immigrants in Bangladesh which indeed makes the present situation a grave security threat for both India and the Indian subcontinent. Currently, there is an estimated 40,000 illegal Rohingya immigrants living in India. However, this number could quickly go up in case of a mass migration of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh to India.
The kind of imminent security threat that the Rohingyas pose is not based on mere apprehensions. There is empirical evidence of how Rohingyas can be detrimental to India’s internal security. They have been involved in overt terror activities on India’s territory. Last year, a terrorist group of Rohingya Muslims, attacked a patrol team of the Assam Rifles along the Indo-Myanmar border. According to a One India report, the Rohingya terrorist group had opened fire to push back the patrol team of Assam Rifles so that terror camps could be set up on the Indian side of the border. In another shocking incident, two operatives belonging to Jamaat-ul-Mujhahideen were arrested near Delhi last year. They were planning to carry out a major attack in Delhi. According to a One India report, they were also trying to activate a module consisting of Rohingya Muslims in Delhi.
In what further exposes how the Rohingyas are a grave security threat to India, Intelligence Bureau believes that Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya terror group active in the Rakhine state of Myanmar is trying to establish modules in India, with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI. The Rohingyas have been directed to target North Eastern states as well as high-profile cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Lashkar-e-Tayiba, JMB, SIMI and ISI all are working in tandem to carry out major terror strikes against India and are getting in touch with Rohingyas for this purpose.
Therefore, it does not really come as a surprise that deportation of illegal Rohingya immigrants has been a top priority for the incumbent Modi government in India. However, the so-called secular opposition parties have been repeatedly standing in support of the Rohingyas purely due to vote bank politics. They have been accusing the BJP of seeking deportation of the Rohingya immigrants on communal basis. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, for example, has been stubborn in her approach of defending the Rohingya immigrants and has in the past accused the Modi government of harassing Rohingya Muslims in the name of deportation. Last year, there were allegations against the Rohingyas of having facilitated a terror attack on the Sunjwan Army camp in Jammu. The BJP had therefore demanded deportation of the Rohingya Muslims from Jammu. The PDP had then accused the BJP of communalising the stay of Rohingyas in Jammu. The Congress too has been insisting on allowing Rohingyas to stay in India.
Certain political outfits, whose sole mode of survival is minority appeasement and vote bank politics, have been constantly arguing that BJP wants Rohingyas deported on communal grounds. However, their absurd argument stands exposed after Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s clear warning about how the Rohingya Muslims are a threat to the security of the region. The opposition parties in India are alleging that the ruling party is communalising the matter, when in fact, a neighbouring Muslim country also looks at Rohingya Muslims as a threat to national and regional security. The deportation of Rohingyas is not a communal or religious issue at all, rather it is based completely upon the issue of India’s internal security. The Rohingyas have been turned into a radicalised lot by Islamic extremists and terror outfits. Moreover, Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, along with Pakistani terror outfits like JeM and LeT, clearly see a huge asset in the Rohingyas when it comes to their jihadist pursuit against India. Thus, India just cannot afford illegal Rohingya immigrants to keep staying within India. They have to be deported promptly at any cost.