Six members of the Rohingya community staying in Bengaluru were allegedly abducted and assaulted by an unknown gang for not paying hafta for carrying out ragpicking work in Bengaluru. The issue was brought to the notice of police officials and the gang released five of the six Rohingya community members after receiving a ransom of Rs 40,000. Police are on the lookout for Dil Mohammed who is still missing.
A first information report (FIR) was registered at the Amruthahalli Police Station on November 5. The families of the abducted persons approached the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees through a Bengaluru-based NGO Law and Policy Research Institute.
In the letter written by Zia Nomani, Program Director, Law and Policy Research Institute (LAPRI, on behalf of the families, it was mentioned that a group of 7 individuals - Hilal, Masoom, Javed, Ali, Farooq, Kukan and one unknown person - came to the Rohingya settlement in Dasarahalli in Bengaluru on October 27 demanding "hafta" for carrying on ragpicking work in the area. "At that time, reportedly, few Rohingyas were present and spoke with the above mentioned 7 individuals. Mr Anwar Hussain, Mr. Dilwar, Mr Mohd Zubair, Mr Abdul Salam, Mr Mujibullah, Mr Mohd Zakir, Mr Mohd Farooq and Mr Arif refused to pay any money as license to carry on rag picking work. They refused to pay any money as license to carry on rag picking work," read the letter.
The letter mentioned that the refugees had not faced any such demand even though they were living in Bengaluru for over seven years now. "Upon refusal, all of them were brutally assaulted. One Mrs Maryam, who is six months pregnant and other women including Mrs. Arfa Begum, Mrs Ismat Ara, Mrs. Minuwara and Mrs Senuwara were also assaulted," read the letter from Zia Nomani. It alleged that six members of the community were abducted and five of them were released later in the week. Dil Mohammed (not to be confused with Dilwar who refused to pay the money) is currently missing from the community and the police are on the lookout for him.
Mobile phones and Rs 40,000 were taken from the community members by those who carried out the assault, the letter added.
The letter to the UNHCR stated that there are 40 Rohingya families living in Bengaluru's Dasarahalli for around 7 years. The letter stated that the residents in the community were recognised as refugees and carried UNHCR cards with them. It stated that the refugee cards of many residents had expired and they were yet to be renewed due to the pandemic.
"The Rohingya community now fears that there might be a backlash on them as they have taken steps against the illegal assault and harassment by the neighbouring community. In this background, this representation requests UNHCR’s assistance," read the letter appealing to authorities to help stop harassment faced by Rohingya refugees. It also called for recognised refugees to be protected and given legal support.