HUBBALLI: The arrest of three people of a minority community on Saturday sparked tension in the twin cities ahead of Bakrid and Ganesh Chaturthi. However, police have moved to calm fears by clarifying that the three are “genuine Rohingya refugees”. The three, identified as Nasiruddin, Ali Hussain and Mohammad Juber, were reportedly forcing people in the two cities to give them alms. This reportedly led to arguments with locals who objected to their behaviour. Police eventually got wind of the three and took them into custody.
As news of the arrests spread, people questioned the lack of security to check entry of illegal immigrants into the city. It also triggered concerns over safety, since Bakrid and Ganesha festivals are around the corner. Rumours and fears that the three may have been in the city to create tension during the festivals did the rounds on the weekend. They urged police to intensify investigations to find out reasons for their presence in city and to also root out other such people staying illegally in the city.

Speaking to TOI, G R D‘Souza, police inspector, suburban police station, Hubballi said, “On Saturday, we received information that three people were moving suspiciously in the city and asking donations from people. After a search we finally nabbed them near the bus terminus. We interrogated them for hours and found out they are Rohingya refugees.”

D‘Souza claimed the three had landed in the city from Bengaluru and had missed their train for Hyderabad. “As it is Bakrid festival season, they decided to collect donations from people since the community is usually liberally with alms during the season. During inquiry, we found all three possessed refugee cards issued by (UNHCR). When we verified these cards, we found the cards genuine.”

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