Jammu: The process of deporting over 150 Rohingya Muslims detained here in a special drive against illegal immigrants early this month has been initiated in Jammu and Kashmir, an official spokesman said on Wednesday.

These people are presently lodged at a ‘holding centre’ in Kathua district, where all necessary facilities are being provided to them, the spokesman said.

He said Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Raghav Langer on Wednesday visited the centre at Hiranagar and expressed satisfaction over the facilities being provided to the inmates.

On March 6, about 168 Rohingyas were shifted to the holding centre after they were found living illegally in Jammu city during a verification drive.

The Rohingyas are a Bengali-dialect speaking Muslim minority in Myanmar. Many from the community fled to India after violence in their country.

Several political parties and social organisations in Jammu have urged the Centre to take immediate steps for the deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals who were illegally living in the region, alleging that their presence is a “conspiracy to alter the demographic character” and a “threat to peace”.

More than 13,700 foreigners, including Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals, are settled in Jammu and Samba districts J-K, where their population has increased by over 6,000 between 2008 and 2016, according to government data.