Rohingya refugees are travelling to Kerala in large groups with their families in trains bound for the southern states from India’s northeast, the Railway Protection Force, Southern Railway, said in a alert issued on 26 September to divisional commissioners in Chennai, Trivandrum, Salem and other zones in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The letter issued by the office of the principal chief security commissioner RPF, Chennai, orders RPF officials to be vigilant of Rohingyas travelling in the trains bound for the south and hand them over to local police when discovered. The alert was issued following intelligence inputs on Rohingya movement in the country.

The letter identifies 14 trains in which the Rohingyas are believed to be travelling to the southern state.

The trains originate from cities in Assam and West Bengal and are bound for major cities in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The 14 trains ply between Silchar, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Howrah, Santragachi, Kanniyakumari, Trivandrum Central, and Chennai.

“If they are found in trains they may be handed over to Police having jurisdiction for further action. Action taken report may be sent to this office at the earliest for the perusal of PCSC,” reads the letter.

While the Kerala police confirmed having received information regarding the movement of Rohingya refugees from the RPF, the Indian Express reports that the divisional security commissioner of Thiruvananthapuram refused to comment on the matter.

Rohingyas, an ethnic Muslim minority group from myanmar’s Rakhine province, fled persecution in Myanmar and took refuge in neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

The Indian government maintains that Rohingyas are “illegal immigrants” and wants to deport them to Myanmar. An estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees are under the scanner of the government for deportation.

The Supreme Court had in its Aadhaar ruling on 26 September said that the identification card should not be issued to Rohingyas as they are “illegal immigrants”.