Rohingyas in India's Jammu fear deportation

Indian police have begun the process of deporting 150 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar after they were found living illegally and were detained in the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir, two officials said on Sunday (March 7).

Dozens of Rohingya are in a makeshift "holding center" at Jammu's Hira Nagar jail after local authorities conducted biometric and other tests to verify their identities.

Rohingyas living in the region said they were concerned about the weekend's detentions and the threat of deportation.

"The police took some Rohingyas in their vehicle. Why did the police take them? What are they doing to them? What is happening? We don't have any information about them. We are facing a lot of problems and the families of the detained are crying."

One Indian official who declined to be named said quote "the drive is part of an exercise to trace foreigners living in Jammu without valid documents."

The Hindu nationalist government, which administers the region, regards the Rohingya, who are Muslim, as illegal aliens and a security risk.

The government has ordered thousands of them living in scattered settlements be identified and repatriated.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were forced to flee their Buddhist-majority homeland after a crackdown by Myanmar's military in 2017.

Myanmar denies accusations of genocide and says the army was fighting a legitimate counter-insurgency campaign.

India rejects a United Nations position that deporting the Rohingya violates the principle of non-refoulement, which prevent countries from sending refugees back to a place where they face danger.