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Should India accept Rohingya Refugees


Myanmar India's neighbour and our look east priority is also an important ally for growing our regional power. India and Myanmar relationship dates back to 1950 with the sign ofTreaty of Friendship among both; thus leading the foundation of a more meaningful relationship.

The current burning issue that might affect Indo Burmese relationship is of Rohingyas-the most persecuted community, as termed by the UN. Basically,these are the Muslims living in the Rakhine province of Burma.

Majority of the Rakhine Buddhists believe that 'Rohingya' is a fabricated religious identity. They claim that the Burmese past never had any community called Rohingya and that those who refer to themselves by the name are basically immigrants from modern day Bangladesh who were brought in by the British.

The Rohingya Muslims on the other hand, are of the strong belief that their community has had deep-rooted existence in Burmese past and that they are indeed original inhabitants of Rakhine.

A growing Buddhist nationalism in Burma, where 90 percent of the population identify with Buddhism, has led to a number of laws on religion, including restrictions on interfaith marriage.

There has also been major ethnic violence in Rakhine; most notably in 2012, when sectarian riots after the rape of a woman in the state led to large-scale displacement of Muslims, with many moving into squalid camps for internally displaced people.

These have lead to mass movement of Rohingyas to the neighbouring nations like Bangladesh, India, Thailandetc to safeguard themselves from the ethnic cleansing.

The major question now arises that whether India should take up Rohingyas or leave them to the mercy of God. Abiding by the law and India's Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 India accepts illegal migrants who are Hindu ,Sikh Christians ,Buddhists ,Parsis and Jains from Afghanistan ,Bangladesh ,Pakistan eligible for citizenship as India did in the case of CHAKMA HAJONG tribe by granting them citizenship.

India cannot deny shelter to persecuted Hindus as they have no other country to turn too but this isn't the case of Rohingyas.The bill does not consider the refugees in India from among Muslims who have fled due to persecution and singles them out and whereas article 21 is considered even that does not mandate India to grant citizenship to the Rohingyas and accept them.

India on humanitarian ground had tried to assistfew and let them settle in Jammu but these lead to sheer protest in the valley causing more instability in an already instable area. Poverty and unjust treatment by virtue is the root cause of all evils and it can be rightly assumed that Rohingyas in near future might join hands with the ISIS and fall prey of Pakistan terror organisation and thus end up terrorizing India.

To look for other reasons why India should step back from helping Rohingyas is that India has not yet settled its very own Kashmiri Pandits Issue. So better taking up a national issue India should first deal with its household matters.

The criticism by the UNHR on India's stand on Rohingyas falls flat on the surface as they disappeared when India and Pakistan faced the same issue 7 decades ago. Despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, India has a healthy tradition of giving asylum to persecuted minorities, includingTibetans, Afghans, ethnic Kachins from Myanmar, Buddhist Chakmas from Bangladesh, and Tamils from Sri Lanka. It is not bound by international law to as such accept Rohingyas.

India has a beautiful past and a wonderful tradition of sheltering those seeking to escape persecution in the neighbourhood but there is a limit to which our overpopulated country can accommodate. Providing citizenship to the 40000 Rohingyas will agitate public protest and kick the Communalism issue to the epoch.

On the grounds of Humanity and to unite with the national agenda India can help Bangladeshi Government in handling and safeguarding Rohingyas as it is doing via Operation Insaaniyat and also the help provided by the Sikh volunteers was remarkable. India should serve with compassion to those who have already entered the country but with due vigilance and prudency. India should take up the international forum to advice the Aang Sang Sui

Government with the help of other concerned nations and suggest measures to stabilize the situation. Being an elder brother and a member of BIMSTEC India should take up a pragmatic position that is free from ideological inclinations so as to secure the economic and bilateral relations with Myammar.

India should not be among those nations that rally support to Rohingya community only as a political posture than on a humanitarian gesture. A holistic approach is needed rather than accepting them on humanitarian grounds keeping in mind the the Look East Policy and the Multi Model Kaladan Project and Kolkata Mizoram trade route.

-Jyoti Solanki