Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya of the BJP and BTM Layout MLA Ramalinga Reddy of the Congress sparred over allegations that Rohingya refugees staying in the city had obtained voter IDs. This after the BJP MP directed officials to verify voter rolls.
Tejasvi Surya took to social media on Friday to highlight the allegations put forward by residents of BTM Layout in Bengaluru during a meeting with the MP. "In our meeting today, many citizens brought the issue of Rohingya Muslims obtaining voter IDs illegally to our notice. We directed officials to verify the electoral rolls and issue voter IDs to only genuine citizens in BTM Layout," Tejasvi Surya said. The MP's office told TNM that residents had not given information about where the Rohingya refugees were from in BTM Layout.
In response to this, Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy took a dig at the BJP MP stating he would support stringent action on such offenders. "You speak abt Rohingya Muslims acquiring Voter IDs in BTM @BJP4India Govt is in power at the state & centre (6 years) why not take stringent action against such illegal activities? I will fully support the cause to jail or deport them. Get your govt to do it," Ramalinga Reddy said.
The issue comes to the fore ahead of the upcoming Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections. The Karnataka High Court has said that it should be held in ten weeks. Incidentally, two weeks ago, Tejasvi Surya made a similar claim in Hyderabad ahead of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls saying that the only thing AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi had allowed in Hyderabad were Rohingyas. In response, Owaisi asked who is stopping BJP from removing illegal Rohingya immigrants.
Earlier in November, TNM had reported about the plight of Rohingya refugees in Dasarahalli who had approached the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stating members of their community were allegedly abducted and assaulted by an unknown gang for not paying hafta for carrying out ragpicking work in the city.
At the time, another issue facing the community members had emerged - their UNHCR registration cards had expired in January 2020 and they were yet to be renewed due to the lockdown imposed in the country.