Indian police arrested 18 Rohingya Muslims in a remote northeastern region on Thursday as they prepared to board a train for New Delhi after entering illegally from Bangladesh.
Police say the 11 men, four women and three children came from Chittagong in Bangladesh and were arrested in Khowai district in India’s Tripura state.
Police officer Krishnendu Chakravertty said they were looking for jobs and going to New Delhi where many other Rohingya live. India shares an 855-kilometer porous border with Bangladesh in Tripura state.
About 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since last August to escape military-led violence against the minority group at home.
An estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in various parts of India. Less than 15,000 are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Many have settled in areas with large Muslim populations, including the southern city of Hyderabad, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, and the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu-Kashmir.
Last year, India’s Home Ministry ordered state authorities to identify and deport Rohingya and others who migrated illegally. It said immigrants were susceptible to recruitment by “terrorist” organizations and “not only infringe on the rights of Indian citizens but also pose grave security challenges.”