India to provide houses to Rohingya refugees

Srinagar, India, Aug 17 (EFE).- A senior federal minister said Wednesday that India has agreed to give Rohingya refugees living in tents in the national capital homes equipped with basic amenities and 24-hour security, in a major decision after a months-long crackdown on alleged illegal immigrants from Myanmar.

Hardeep Singh Puri, the union minister for housing and urban affairs, tweeted that “all Rohingya refugees will be shifted to” the apartments intended for economically disadvantaged households in Bakkarwala village, in west Delhi.

Puri described the move as a “landmark decision,” adding that the Rohingya refugees “will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs and round-the-clock (police) security.”

“India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country,” the minister said.

An official told EFE that the decision was made during a Tuesday high-level meeting of the city government.

The official said the first phase of the staggered plan would see around 1,100 migrants move into flats.

The decision comes after a months-long crackdown on alleged illegal immigrants from Myanmar, where the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority, experience persecution.

There is no clear data on the number of Rohingyas in India, although the country is home to an estimated 40,000 Myanmar refugees.

At least 20,000 of them have been registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Following a brutal military campaign in Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, a substantial number of the ethnic minority population migrated to neighboring nations, mostly Bangladesh.

Rights organizations accuse ultranationalist Hindu groups in India of targeting Rohingya refugees in the country as part of an alleged rising anti-Muslim campaign.

The groups have demanded that the Rohingyas be expelled from India.

According to Human Rights Watch, since October 2018, India has deported 12 Rohingyas to Myanmar, claiming that they left voluntarily.

Activists say that authorities have detained more than 150 Rohingyas in Indian-administered Kashmir’s Jammu city over the last year.

India is not a signatory of the 1951 Refugee Convention and does not recognize the Refugee Cards issued by the UNHCR.

It means Rohingyas within India do not particularly have a right to seek government-distributed food grains or ration, jobs, housing, and education.

Most Rohingyas in India are involved in rag-picking, or in unskilled and unorganized jobs. EFE


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