While the government has repeatedly expressed concerns about the presence of Rohingya migrants in the country, claiming them to be a threat to national security, these claims were not reflected in the recently released National Crime Records Bureau report.
An analysis of the NCRB’s report for the year 2020 shows that Myanmar nationals accounted for around 2 per cent of the total crimes allegedly committed by foreigners in the country. No case of terror, rape or keeping arms was registered against any Myanmar national last year.
The crimes allegedly committed by nationals of Bangladesh, Nigeria and Nepal, in India were substantially more than the crimes allegedly committed by Myanmar nationals.
According to the NCRB data, a total of 7686 foreigners were allegedly found to be on the wrong side of law by police authorities in the country in 2020. Of the total accused foreigners, Bangladesh had the highest share (25.4 per cent) followed by Nigeria (5.5 per cent), Nepal (3.3 per cent) and then Myanmar which accounted for 2.3 per cent of the total accused foreigners last year.
Also notably, a dip was observed both in the crimes committed by foreigners, as well as in the crimes committed against foreigners in 2020, as compared to the previous year. The fall in cases is in keeping with the larger national trend in which a decrease in “traditional crimes” such as sexual crimes or economic offences due to the pandemic induced lockdown and resultant restrictions, was seen. Fewer people traveled as tourists across the globe due to COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic in early 2020.
A total of 191 crimes were registered in 2020 for crime against foreigners – tourists as well as residents – as compared to 404 cases in 2019, showing a decrease of 52.7 per cent. Most of the cases registered were of theft (52) and rape (16). Out of 248 victims in 191 registered cases, 50 per cent of the victims were from Asia (124) followed by 25.4 per cent of victims from Europe (63).
A total of 1,937 cases were registered against foreign nationals as compared to 2,652 cases that were registered against foreigners in 2019, showing a decrease of 27 per cent. A total of 997 cases, comprising more than half of the total cases (51.5 per cent) were registered under Foreigners Act & Registration of Foreigners Act, followed by 205 cases, comprising 10.6% of the total cases, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
A total of 1956 Bangladesh nationals were booked by investigating agencies last year, 305 of whom were booked for crimes under the Passport Act. The accused also included 16 under NDPS Act and six were booked under the Arms Act.
A total of 179 people from Myanmar who featured on the list of foreign accused, included 71 booked under the Foreigners Act, 5 cases under NDPS, 7 booked for attempt to murder and 1 booked for unnatural offence. No Myanmar national was booked for charges of rape, abduction, under POCSO, UAPA or the Arms Act.
In 2017, the government had told the Supreme Court that Rohingya refugees were “a threat to national security”. The central government has been maintaining the same stand before Parliament for the last few years.
In July, the Minister of state for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai told the Lok Sabha, “Illegal Rohingya migrants pose a threat to national security and there are reports that some of them have indulged in illegal activities in the country.”