Jammu: Rohingya couple brought to attend infant’s funeral in chains

Relatives of the couple insist the infant died due to the tear gas, a claim vehemently denied by jail authorities.

Mohammed Saleem and Numina, a Rohingya Muslim couple, were brought handcuffed and chained to bid a tearful adieu to their to their five-month-old baby. The infant had allegedly died during a recent clash in a ‘refugee holding centre’ in Jammu, where authorities have been confining hundreds of Rohingya refugees.


A video showing a policewoman holding the mourning mother in chains has sparked widespread condemnation over the ‘inhumane treatment’. The couple was being taken to Jammu’s Narwal area to conduct the last rites.

According to an Indian Express report, the couple has two other children — 17-year-old Riazuddin and one-year-old Umar Salina. In 2012, the couple came to the Hiranagar Holding Centre situated in Jammu’s Kathua district. Riazuddin was just five years old; Habiba and Salina were born at the centre.

MS Education Academy

Clashes between authorities and refugees

On July 18, security forces fired tear gas at refugees after two staff members were allegedly held captive by them, demanding either release or deportation.

About a dozen Rohingyas were reported injured and baby Habiba fell sick. The following day, she was taken to a hospital for treatment, where she passed away. Relatives of the couple insist the infant died due to the tear gas, a claim vehemently denied by jail authorities.

Saleem and Numina has urged the authorities to have the infant buried in Narwal, where their relatives reside.

On the night of the burial, relatives were shocked to see a mourning and handcuffed Saleem, Numina and Riazuddin. It was at this time that one of them made a video.

They allegedly remained handcuffed for more than an hour as they grieved the deceased child, and then buried her. Later, they were taken back to the Hiranagar holding centre.

The Hiranagar centre currently holds a total of 271 Rohingyas, including 74 women and 70 children – many of whom were born there. The Rohingyas have been held up there since March 5, 2021, as ‘illegal’ immigrants under Section 2(b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The Union government have been moving the Rohingyas, who were ‘illegally’ staying in Jammu, to the centre ahead of their deportation to Myanmar. However, in April of the same year, the Supreme Court said those detained in Jammu should not be deported without following due procedure.

Since then the detainees have been demanding either to be set free or be deported back.

Who are Rohingya?

The Rohingya Muslims are an ethnic minority group who have lived in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), for centuries. Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country.

In 1982, the Myanmar government decided to deny citizenship to Rohingya Muslims. Since then, it has been a tale of indiscriminate violence and persecution leading to millions of them fleeing Myanmar to neighbouring countries.

Around 6,000-7,000 Rohingya have been living in Jammu after arriving in the city between 2012 to 2017.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *