Agartala, India – Police in India’s northeastern state of Tripura have arrested 31 Rohingya who were fleeing a recent crackdown by India’s Hindu nationalist government.
The group, which included 16 children and six women, was arrested on Tuesday after it was denied entry into Bangladesh and border officials from the two nations failed to agree on what to do with them.
India regards the Muslim-majority Rohingya as illegal aliens and a security risk and has ordered that tens of thousands of them who live in scattered settlements and slums around the country be identified and repatriated to Burma.
As many as 1,300 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh from India in recent weeks as fears of deportation to Buddhist-majority Myanmar sparked an exodus.
The latest group crossed the barbed-wire fences along the Indian part of the border at Rayermura in West Tripura district, but Bangladesh border guards stopped them from entering their territory.
The group had spent the last four days stranded in the “no-man’s land” between India and Bangladesh, which hosts the world’s largest refugee camp of over a million Rohingya fleeing persecution in Burma.
Read more on Rohingya deportation from India:
Officials said the arrested Rohingya were brought before a court in Tripura’s capital Agartala, which put them in 14-day judicial custody.
“They were trying to enter into Indian territory from the Bangladesh side and BSF resisted them from entering,” said Brijesh Kumar, director inspector general of India’s Border Security Force (BSF).
Police official Ajay Kumar Das said a case was registered against them under India’s Passport Act for trying to illegally infiltrate Indian territory.
Read more from the source: Al Jazeera