New Delhi, Dec 24 (EFE).- India, which received more than 20,000 refugees in 2021, maintains policies prejudiced against refugees from religions which are in a minority in the country, nonprofit Rights & Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) has alleged in its annual report.
“There is no accurate data on the number of refugees but India has about 400,000 refugees including 238,222 recognized and documented refugees i.e. Sri Lankan refugees; Tibetan refugees and refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” RRAG director Suhas Chakma said in a statement.
Apart from these India also has 31,313 refugees from religious minorities from neighboring countries – given long-term visas on the basis of religious persecution – and around 123,000 undocumented refugees from the Chin and Rohingya communities.
The report criticizes the lack of a uniform refugee law in India, which leads to the fate of thousands of people depending on the country’s geopolitical interests and decisions taken with an eye on gains in domestic electoral politics.
The RRAG, based in new Delhi, said that while India was steadfast in its support to Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and Tibetans, it has remained inflexible in its policies towards the rest, particularly Rohingyas.
While the government of the southern state of Tamil Nadu approved an economic package worth $4 million for Sri Lankan and Tibetan refugees, in contrast the 414 immigrants arrested in 2021 for illegally entering India consisted of 354 Rohingyas and 60 Chins.
The majority of these arrests, 174, were carried out in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Delhi (96) and Assam (55).
The investigation revealed that the situation has gone from bad to worse in recent years, especially for the Rohingyas, as at least 1,177 refugees from the communities have been arrested or rescued from human trafficking in India in the last five years.
The RRAG warned that the pandemic has also aggravated the refugees’ problems, as around 56 percent of the Rohingya refugees lost their jobs during the Covid period, while for many it was impossible to get vaccinated due to the requirement of furnishing official documents to get the jab.
It also denounced the unequal policies of India towards refugees fleeing war, as Sikh and Hindu applicants from Afghanistan were offered asylum this year after the Taliban seized Kabul, while the Muslims were not offered a similar response.
The nonprofit also highlighted the Citizenship Amendment Act, designed to protect asylum seekers belonging to religious minorities in India’s neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, who have not entered the country before 2015. The law has been criticized for specifically excluding Muslims, India’s largest minority religion. EFE