‘Orders From Above’: Delhi Police Pick Up 10 Rohingya Refugees

Residents of the slum allege that police personnel had said they have “orders from above.”

4 min read

Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam

In just a fortnight, around 10 Rohingya Muslims have been picked up by the Delhi Police from a refugee camp in South-East Delhi, allegedly over their inability to provide relevant documents upon inspection.

According to residents of the refugee colony in Delhi’s Kanchan Kunj, while one family of four was picked up by the police early on Wednesday, 31 March, another family of six were taken away from the temporary settlement around 10 days ago.

Residents of the slum, which houses about 30 families and 300 individuals, allege that police personnel had said they have “orders from above,” when asked about why they were taking people away in an arbitrary manner.

Deputy Commissioner of Police RP Meena of South East Delhi said, "They didn't have documents, so have been sent to Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO)."

Thirty-five-year old Mohammed Bashir Ahmed, who has been living in the colony since 2011, told The Quint, “Last night, the police had come to check on my brothers and asked where they worked, how they earn a living. At 8 am, my father had returned after Namaz and my mother was making breakfast. Just as my brother was getting ready for work, policemen came and gheraoed our house and didn't let us leave.”

He said that the police picked up his 80-year-old father Sultan Ahmed, 70-year-old mother Halima Begum and two brothers.

His brothers, Noor Mohammed and Usman, used to work as labourers.

Mohammed Bashir Ahmed.
Mohammed Bashir Ahmed.
Photo: The Quint
Usman, Mohammed Bashir Ahmed’s 18-year-old brother.
Usman, Mohammed Bashir Ahmed’s 18-year-old brother.
Photo: The Quint
I told them that we were being persecuted in the same way in Burma like we are being troubled here. There, too, they take all family members and beat them up.
Mohammed Bashir Ahmed

Ahmed said that when a lawyer visited the police station, the officers told him that orders had come from above.

“I am afraid. Today, they have picked up my parents and brothers, tomorrow they will pick up my family of four, then some other family,” he added, saying, “It is better to go to Burma and die because they will anyway kill us here also. There are 50 families here, take all at once, why take away in instalments?”

Another resident narrated a similar incident saying, “After the Jammu incident, policemen suddenly came here around 10-12 days back and picked up a family of six from here - Mohammed Shareef (40), Laia (30), Ali (24), Noor Ameen (22), Karim (18) and another woman.”

According to the resident, the police had come the previous night and asked questions about work. Just the next day, they picked up the family. One family member, who had gone to work, was allegedly picked up from there, while the others were picked up from the colony.

We later came to know they have been taken to a detention camp. Where will we go? We have no place in this world to go.
An unnamed resident 

“Had the situation been fine in our country, we would have gone back happily....no one would have had to ask us to go... we would have gone there ourselves. We are not foolish to stay on here like this...” the resident said, adding that they were not in Delhi by choice but had come to save their lives.

“Look at these kids, are we terrorists are we a danger to this country?”

“I am afraid here and I am afraid there,” the resident lamented.

‘Orders From Above’: Delhi Police Pick Up 10 Rohingya Refugees
Photo: The Quint

However, Kabir, a resident in his early twenties, feels differently.

“We have no fear left, we are dead from inside. Only our body is there. What is our fault? They are picking us up without any reason,” he told The Quint.

He added that if the people being picked up were thieves or participated in criminal acts, they were right to be picked up.

“What kind of humanity is this? We have come here to save our lives, we are following all rules,” he said.

23-year-old Kabir
23-year-old Kabir
(Photo: The Quint)
We had crossed pools of blood to cross over to Bangladesh and then to India. Why would we come here if we were safe there?

“During childhood, we would watch Indian Hindi films and think India is the best country in the world. This is why we came to India,” Kabir said.

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