Asia - Pacific

13 Rohingya detained in northern India

Last week, another 8 Rohingya refugees were arrested in capital New Delhi

Cheena Kapoor   | 20.01.2021
13 Rohingya detained in northern India FILE PHOTO


At least 13 members from five Rohingya families in India were manhandled and detained by local police at the northern state of Haryana on Wednesday, local camp leaders said on Wednesday. 

Nuh district, about 100 kilometers (62.13 miles) from Delhi, has about 1,500 refugees living in two camps. The 13 detained Rohingya, five of them women and one senior member, include nine from Chandeni village camp and another four from the nearby Nangli camp.

“Even 10-12 of those who showed valid refugee cards were brutally beaten up. We have been told that there will be another checking tomorrow, and thus many who have been waiting for their cards to be issued have decided to run away in this cold weather,” said a Chandeni camp community leader on the condition of anonymity.

In a video released by the refugees, policemen are seeing conducting raids at the camps and roughing up those who failed to show valid identity cards.

The leader also confirmed that due to these arbitrary detentions and assaults, over 400 refugees have gone missing from the camps over the last year. Most of them ran away in the middle of the night out of fear.

He noted that the issuance of refugee cards by non-governmental organization faced delays due to the pandemic. “This had led to torture and assaults becoming a norm,” he said.

Local authorities, however, called the raid a routine check before the upcoming Republic day on Jan. 26.

“Every year we check refugee camps and hotels in the area for the presence of anti-social elements. The raid in the area was to make sure that the region is clear of foreign elements. These detained people missed to show their cards,” said Ram Avtaar, a local police constable.

Last week, Delhi police had detained eight Rohingya after they failed to show valid documents. All, including three minors, were sent to the detention center, the deputy commissioner of police told media.

Ali Johar, a Rohingya youth leader, said over 3,000 refugees in India have gone to live in Bangladesh, despite the risk of crossing the border, to avoid getting deported by the Indian government to Myanmar.

“Bangladesh is now providing Rohingya with decent health care and education. Most community members fear deportation and would prefer dying than going back. The Indian government has been vocal about deportation and thus the community lives in fear,” added Johar.

While UNHCR has provided refugees card to half of the refugees from Myanmar, India does not recognize their cards, since it is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees.

Since the new citizenship law and the additional complexities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rohingya refugees, most of whom worked in the unorganized sector in India, have lost their jobs and are forced to live in poverty and hunger.

- Persecuted people

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were thrown into fires, over 114,000 more were beaten, and as many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police, said the OIDA report, titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

Over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned and 113,000 others vandalized, the report added.

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