Amid the ongoing crisis for their community, the Rohingyas in the national capital are now being sent “nationality verification” forms asking them about various information as per The Indian Express. The five-page form has questions pertaining to education details, occupation before leaving Myanmar, colour of eyes and hair, Myanmar home address, details of leaving the country, place of departure from Myanmar or Bangladesh, mode of transport, passport details and case details of Myanmar nationals arrested. There are also questions on the name, address and telephone number of travel agent or any other person/agency involved in sending the individual to India.
“We have no clarity on which body has asked the police to send us these forms. When we first got the forms, many from the community refused to fill them, fearing that it could lead to us being sent back to Myanmar. We convinced those people and submitted the forms,” 29-year-old Sabbir, founder of the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative (ROHRIngya) was quoted saying by IE. 29-year-old Abdul Khan who lives in Vikaspuri said that although they have the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) refugee card, still but the form doesn’t bother about their status. The nationality verification form sent caused a bit of discomfort in the community after it was sent out by the police to a Rohingya in the capital a fortnight ago.
The Delhi police, however, says that it is a routine exercise just like the census. “This census happens from time to time, and is a routine exercise to know the number of people living in the area from that community”, said DCP (southeast) Romil Baaniya.
32-year-old Mohammad Ismail, who came to Delhi in 2009, said the form “brings back memories of filling similar forms every six months when he lived in Rakhine State in Myanmar”. “Those forms would ask us to fill in the colour of our eyes, specific identification marks. We condemned it because it deemed us as outsiders — not citizens of Myanmar. In Delhi, with this form, we fear they might be collecting this data to deport us,” he was quoted saying by IE.
The issue of the Rohingyas in Myanmar has recently become a point of debate in India, with the government insisting on their deportation for the sake of national security. The Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an advisory on August 8, titled ‘Identification of illegal migrants and monitoring thereof’, which had asked states to “take prompt steps in identifying illegal migrants and initiate deportation processes expeditiously and without delay”.