Following the arrest of at least two dozen Rohingyas for indulging in violence in Haryana’s Nuh district on 31 July, several members of the 2,000-strong population of these migrants in the area are on police radar for suspected links with “suspicious” social media groups originating from Pakistan, even as the investigators widen their scope to look into the alleged online threats to traders of a particular community.
Apart from the investigation in the violence case, the law enforcement agencies are focusing on preventing the misuse of social media for spreading rumours. Letters purportedly written by panchayat members from Rewari, Jhajjar and Mahendergarh have been spotted by police on social media in which traders of a particular community have been directed to leave these villages.
According to Police Superintendent Narendra Bijarniya, 11 people have been booked for spreading rumours on social media. Nuh Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata told media persons that internet shutdown in the district will continue till the situation returns to normal and curfew is lifted completely.
The communal violence in Nuh had claimed five lives. including two home guards. In an attack on a place of worship in Gurugram, a cleric was killed as the violence spilled over areas around Nuh district.
While the number of FIRs has risen to over 142 and the number of arrests has crossed 312, investigators are still questioning the 106 people in detention. A hunt is also on for some residents of border villages in Rajasthan who allegedly joined the local Rohingyas in violence during a religious procession.
Dismissing allegations of bias against a particular community, a Haryana government functionary said, “Those arrested include people from both the communities.” Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed claimed he was not aware if any Rohingyas were arrested. “There is a possibility of their arrest as they are present in the area.” However, he was quick to add that there was nothing illegal about the presence of Rohingyas as they live in camps as part of Government of India’s agreement with the UNHCR. The Congress leader dismissed allegations that there was an attempt to deliberately increase Rohingyas’ concentration in the area. “They live not just in Nuh, but in six other camps spread over other areas,” he said. A local resident who did not wish to be named alleged that not all Rohingyas have entered the country legally. “Many of them are illegal migrants who have managed to get fake identity documents made. Since, they are present illegally they tend to work at low labour rates or indulge in crimes,” said an agriculturist.
Rohingyas belong to the minority community whose members fled Myanmar in 2017 and entered Bangladesh and India to escape alleged violence against them in their country. Political temperatures have started to rise in Haryana with Congress leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanding a judicial probe into the Nuh incidents, holding the administration responsible. However, home minister Anil Vij has all along claimed that the incident was a part of a pre-planned conspiracy to ambush a religious procession.
Meanwhile, the online circulation of hate letters against traders of a particular community have sent a panic wave across Nuh and some other districts’ residents, mostly from the minority community. Some of them have reportedly started moving out of their current location. The migration has allegedly been noticed in 30-40 villages.