How Rohingya Muslims get SIM cards without address, identity proof?

Rohingya Muslims enjoying games on mobile phones inside a tea stall in one of the Rohingya markets in Jammu outskirts.

Aaryan sharma
JAMMU: Ever since the Union government has tightened noose around private mobile service providers and BSNL to verify the credentials of consumers before issuing them SIM cards, the menace of multiple SIM cards issued against individual names has been checked to a large extent.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the government was proactive in checking menace of fake SIM cards as several security agencies had raised alarm after the recovery of SIM cards from the custody of infiltrators and cross border smugglers. As per norms, every consumer is supposed to submit address/identity proof along with photographs to service providers. The private mobile service providers also keep a close watch on the activities of their retail outlets and follow strictly the guidelines issued by the security agencies. But when it comes to thousands of Rohingya Muslims, camping in Jammu, acquiring a SIM card is an easy job.
The facility is available to them even at their door steps and they don’t even submit any address proof.
But if you visit their residential clusters, you will find almost every Rohingya Muslim using mobile phones to stay connected with the outer world and the younger ones enjoying regualr dose of music, films and favourite video games on their handsets.
All they have in their wallet in the name of identity proof is a card issued by the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In most of the cases, the date of UNHCR card has expired but instead of renewing their cards, these Rohingya Muslims are enjoying their stay without facing any action on ground zero.
In clusters, where Rohingya Muslims are staying, several youth have even opened mobile repairing shops and earn Rs 200-300 per day by repairing mobile handsets. Others have been selling SIM cards. In certain cases, even some of the local shopkeepers in the area have been selling SIM cards at a premium to earn their livelihood.
During day time the young boys can be seen spending leisure time in small hotels playing online games on their mobiles. For recharge, they visit Narwal area to add value to their pre paid cards.
According to reports, some of the well connected Rohingya Muslims have been procuring SIM cards of private mobile companies by exploiting well connected sympathisers. Some Srinagar based NGOs have also deployed their volunteers to process Rohingya Muslims’ cases for ensuring SIM cards. Ironically, till date the local police authorities have not taken any cognisance against individuals involved in the business of selling SIM cards to Rohingya Muslims.