Skip to main content

Rohingiyas: Hiding behind "hyper-security" jingoism, India refuses to recognize refugees as legal category

By Our Representative
In a sharp critique of the Indian position on the Rohingiya crisis, a recent workshop organised by the South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR), in collaboration with Development and Justice Initiative, India International Centre and Euro-Burma office, reached the conclusion that India has refused the recognise the ethnic group as refugees, making them ineligible for the protection under the international refugee law.
The workshop, in which about 80 leading activists from civil society in Myanmar, the Rohingya community in Bangladesh and India, exile groups in UK, official representatives from Bangladesh, diplomats, lawyers, academics, social justice and women’s groups activists, participated, suggested that they are "deliberately called ‘migrants’, putting their protection in the hands of the International Organisation of Migration."
A note on the workshop, held in Delhi on May 11, quoted Tapan Bose, secretary-general, SAFHR, as saying that, what India does not seem to understand is that Rohingyas are an impoverished and a stateless ethnic minority community, which settled predominantly in the Rakhine province as the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, coexisting peacefully alongside Buddhists for decades.
"The latest cycle of violence carried out by Myanmar security forces compelled more than a million Rohingyas to flee extrajudicial killings, rape, abuses, communal violence, persecution and terror to neighbouring Bangladesh for refuge and security", Bose said, quoting UNHRC body describing their mass exodus as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
Pointing out that 40,000 Rohingya refugees living in Hyderabad, Jammu, West Bengal, Northeast India and Delhi are classifies as illegal immigrants and a threat to national security on the basis of unsubstantiated links with ‘terrorist’ organisations, Bose said, "The Supreme Court of India has provided a temporary reprieve. There are reports of the Border Security Force using 'rude and crude methods' to block new comers."
Sahana Basavapatna
Sahana Basavapatna, lawyer, researcher and human rights defender of the rights of refugees, speaking at the workshop, sought to demystify what she called "the hyper-security jingoism which is at the root of fostering an anti-refugee/migration sentiment", insisting, "It is undermining India’s historical record of an accommodative ‘host’ country."
She underlined, "The country’s lack of recognition of the legal category of ‘refugee’ resulting in the clubbing of all as ‘illegal foreigners’ has resulted in arrests of several Rohingya who have crossed into Manipur", regretting, "The insecurity pathology is giving popular legitimacy to the government’s decision to deport the 40,000 Rohingya refugees."
Speaking at the workshop, four Rohingya asylum seekers, who came from Jammu, Haryana and Delhi, and had made their way from Bangladesh to India "hearing that there was possibility of schooling children finding some job", pointed towards how they applied for the asylum status to UNHCR.
"We got a card categorizing as a refugee, no other assistance. For 41 days we protested in front of UNHCR office. The police dispersed us and forced us to stay at a railway station for two days. Eventually we were ‘settled’ on government land property, a 'no construction area', a makeshift camp constructed out of scraps of recycled wood and plastic, which we bought ourselves. That is home", said one.
“We are called dirty”, said one of them, adding, "A small number of NGOs have been engaged in supporting some residents in camps. The children have received 47 scholarships for free education in primary school. UNICEF also provides facilities for education, but the schools are too far for the children to reach, and public transport is unaffordable."
One of them, who came from Jammu, lamented that, while male refugees have monopolised the digging works required by the city and the railways, women are busy shelling walnuts but at Rs 100 -- it is bare subsistence. "Even that could be jeopardized by the xenophobic jingoism stoked by allegations of the ‘Muslim’ Rohingya being a security threat", it was pointed out.

Comments

Uma said…
Is 'refugee' a legal category anywhere in the world? Refugee or migrant, they are human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity and care.

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Idea of fair, tall, customized baby "rooted" in Nazi Germany, RSS' Golwalkar wanted crossbreeding with Brahmins

By Our Representative
Facts have come to light suggesting that the RSS’ experiment to have “fair”, “tall” and “customized” baby has an interesting Gujarat connection: It was first reportedly floated by its topmost ideologue Guru Golwalkar way back in 1960 while giving a lecture in Gujarat University.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.