Bishop Ivan Pereira of Jammu–Srinagar in northern India has asked the national government to ensure the safety of Muslim Rohingya refugees threatened by right-wing Hindu groups.
Death threats have caused more than 1,200 Rohingya to flee from the Jammu region where they have been sheltering since 2012 when ethnic violence flared in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in India, has long endured a violent secessionist conflict involving local Muslims who want the region to become fully independent or join with Pakistan. Jammu–Srinagar Diocese covers the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir. Some Hindu groups fear the presence of Rohingya could exacerbate the internal violence.
Bishop Pereira stressed that it was strife in Myanmar’s Rakhine State that forced them to leave their homes. The Indian federal government has announced plans to deport roughly 40,000 “illegal” Rohingya from India. Of the state’s 12.5 million people, the Jammu region has roughly 6 million people, 62% of them Hindus and the rest nearly all Muslims.