India’s Rohingya accuse PM Modi of double standards in citizenship law | India Rohingya News

kolkata, india – Muhammad Hamin has been unable to sleep at night since March 8, when the government of Manipur state in northeastern India ordered the expulsion of Rohingya refugees.

On that day, the state’s Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was among the first of a group of 77 refugees who the state government marked as “immigrants.” He posted on X that he had forcibly repatriated eight refugees. India illegally.”

The deportations were later halted after Myanmar authorities refused to cooperate with India on the issue.

Hamin, a Rohingya who came to India in 2018, lives in New Delhi, about 1,700 kilometers from Manipur. But the 26-year-old, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration in India’s capital, has been accused of trying to deport members of his community by watching TV and scrolling through social media platforms on his phone. Spending time getting up-to-date information about.

He does this even as he observes a dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

“News of the deportations has certainly triggered a panic button among most Myanmar nationals living in India. No one knows who will step out next and face the same horrors of violence and bloodshed. body,” he said.

For many Rohingya refugees in India, that fear has a bitter irony. On March 11, three days after the Manipur state government began its crackdown on the Rohingya, the Modi government announced a controversial citizenship law aimed at granting Indian citizenship to minorities persecuted by neighboring countries. announced the implementation of the

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) provides six groups of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before 2015 and faced religious persecution. Grants citizenship to religious minorities.

Missing from the list of potential beneficiaries are Muslim communities in these countries that have been targeted by the violence, such as Pakistan’s Ahmadis and Afghanistan’s Hazaras. Also absent are the Rohingya, who are also persecuted and come from another bordering country, which is also predominantly Muslim.

“We are victims of religious persecution, just like the citizens of the other three countries to which we will be granted citizenship. We are also a minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. However, the Indian government do not care about us just because we are Muslims,” a Rohingya rights activist told NDMT on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the government.

Rohingya children living in a refugee settlement in New Delhi [Handout via NDMT]

long battle

The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority from Myanmar, and the Myanmar government denies them citizenship, thereby rendering them stateless and without basic rights. The community, mostly from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, has faced decades of violence and repression in the Buddhist-majority country.

In 2017, more than 750,000 Rohingya were forced to flee the country after Myanmar launched what the United Nations called a military operation carried out with “genocidal intent.” People fled to the southern coast of Bangladesh, turning the area into the world’s largest refugee camp.

Many fled to neighboring India or arrived in India after fleeing camps in Bangladesh.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that around 79,000 refugees from Myanmar, including Rohingya, live in India, of which around 22,000 are registered with the UN refugee agency. Most Rohingya in India have been given UNHCR cards that identify them as a persecuted community.

Hamin arrived in India in 2018. A year later, his family of 11 landed in a small settlement in Bangladesh.

“My family is still in Bangladesh, but I came here to get an education and started living with friends who came here earlier,” he said.

But like other Rohingya refugees in India, his presence in India is precarious.

India is not party to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which sets out the rights of refugees and the responsibilities of states towards refugees. There is also no law protecting refugees in the South Asian country.

Critics have accused the government of excluding persecuted ethnic minorities such as Myanmar’s Rohingya and Pakistan’s Ahmadis from citizenship laws, calling it anti-Islamic ahead of a general election starting next month. It has been criticized as a double standard aimed at pandering to the metaphor of

“Reckless statement”

During a hearing last week on a motion challenging the Rohingya’s deportation, the government told the Supreme Court that the Rohingya do not have a fundamental right to live in India.

“We have refugee cards issued by UNHCR, but the Indian government insists that we have no fundamental right to live in India,” said a Rohingya activist who requested anonymity.

Supreme Court lawyer Colin Gonsalves criticized the government’s position.

“The right to life is not just for Indians, but for all citizens within Indian territory, including the Rohingya and people fleeing religious persecution. The Indian Constitution protects their rights, but “It’s amazing that a senior government official is making such reckless statements,” he said.

“The Supreme Court has made clear that protecting the lives of refugees is a constitutional right. They are protected under the following conditions: [the] A policy of non-refoulement or non-return, which states that refugees cannot be sent back to their place of refuge due to fear of physical or sexual assault. ”

Myanmar refugee story [Handout via NDMT]
Rohingya men and women at a shelter in New Delhi [Handout via NDMT]

“The future looks dark.”

Sarai Dokhar is a New Delhi-based activist who runs India for Myanmar and runs political campaigns to raise awareness of refugee rights. He worries that expelling the Rohingya could put the lives of refugees at risk as Myanmar faces a military coup and civil war in 2021.

“We are concerned that refugees will be taken advantage of by foreigners. [Myanmar] The military as a human shield [civil] “If we don’t get involved in the war, we will be treated badly if we leave the country,” he said, adding that if the Indian government insists on deporting the Rohingya, it will not allow them to join Myanmar’s opposition platform, the National Unity Talks. It should be handed over to the National Council (NUCC), he added. .

India’s Rohingya have also been subjected to hate campaigns from alleged Hindu right-wing groups on social media for years. In January, Hamin and fellow Rohingya Muhammad Kausar, 19, filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking legal action against Facebook, which provided a platform for an anti-refugee social media campaign. The petitioners asked the court to order the U.S.-based social media company to remove hate speech and other harmful content.

“We were aware of a hate campaign against us on Facebook, but the company did nothing to stop it. Some posts on social media were temporarily suspended. “Posts like this brand vulnerable communities as terrorists and increase the risk of attack,” Hamin said.

Nai San Lwin, a Germany-based Rohingya activist and co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition, a non-profit organization that fights for community rights, said Indian media has labeled the Rohingya as a potential national security threat. He said that the frequent portrayal of it as a security threat further exacerbated public concerns. assignment.

“India’s right-wing government does not have a positive outlook on us and the media’s indifferent attitude is only making the situation worse,” he said.

“We need some protection to live here. [until] The situation is normalizing in our country. But the future looks bleak for us. ”

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