NEW DELHI

The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea challenging the detention of over 150 detained Rohingya Muslim refugees to Myanmar, setting a hearing date for March 25.

At least 155 Rohingya “illegal immigrants” were detained by local police in different areas of the disputed Jammu region earlier this month.

According to the local newspaper The Hindu, Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde accepted to hear the plea challenging refugees’ detention and proposed deportation.

“We approached the court regarding the detention of 155 Rohingyas and pleaded to stop Indian authorities from deporting them back to Myanmar,” Mohammad Salimullah, a member of the Rohingya community, told Anadolu Agency.

After their arrest, local authorities put 155 Rohingya in a “holding center” that had been set up under the Foreigners Act in the Hiranagar sub-jail of Kathua district in the disputed Jammu region which was established under a government notification dated March 5.

Thousands of Rohingya have been living in 39 camps in the Indian-administered Jammu region since 2007 when they fled their country.

While the UNHCR has provided refugee ID cards to half of the refugees from Myanmar, India does not recognize these cards, since it is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees.

In January this year, at least 13 members from five Rohingya families in the northern state of Haryana were manhandled and detained by local police.

During the same month, New Delhi Police also detained eight Rohingya after they failed to show valid documents. They were sent to the detention center.

Persecuted people

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were thrown into fires, over 114,000 more were beaten, and as many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police said the OIDA report, titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

Over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned and 113,000 others vandalized, the report added.

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