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 Sheth 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

Amit Shah 'wrong': Lack of transparency characterized bank frauds, NPAs, jobs data

Counterview Desk
India's senior RTI activists Nikhil Dey, Anjali Bhardwaj, Venktesh Nayak, Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu, Dr. Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, Pankti Jog and Pradip Pradhan, who are attached with the National Campaign for Peoples' Right to Information (NCPRI), have said that Union home minister Amit Shah's claim that the Government of India is committed to transparency stands in sharp contrast to its actual actions.

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…