Rohingya Vision

Rohingya struggle to survive in India

Rohingya struggle to survive in India
January 07
08:12 2014

More than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslim groups have been displaced due to the atrocities committed by Myanmarese authorities and Rakhine Budhists, including large scale massacres, burning of mosques and homes of poor civilians, according to a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

They are deprived of education and good health. We badly need help

Mujeeb Ahmed, Rohingya refugee

In its report released in April last year under the title “All you can do is pray: Crimes against humanity and ethnic cleaning of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s (aka Myanmar) Arakan state”, the HRW accused the Myanmarese authorities and members of Arakanese groups of committing crimes against humanity in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

According to the UN refugee agency there are about 5,500 Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar registered in India spread across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Most of them live in settlements while a few who have found jobs have rented houses.

Each one of them has a sad tale to narrate. They all escaped persecution and murder and trekked an often perilous journey to reach India by crossing the Bangladesh border.

Mohammed Shaker, 66, lost his uncle in the violence. He was a farmer growing potatoes but had to abandon it.

Abdul Majeed, an Islamic preacher lost his brother and sister in the riots. He said the Islamic school he used to teach in, was burnt down by Buddhists.

“I am lucky to be alive. My old parents still live there. There is total mayhem in my village in Arakan state and youth are specially targeted,” he said.

He said there is a severe restriction on movement of Muslims and practice their religion.

“Schools are burnt down and mosques are demolished. There is no freedom to practice our religion in Burma,” he said.

NGOs pitch in

Confederation of Voluntary Association (COVA), a non-profit organisation based in Hyderabad, is helping victims by distributing food and conducting medical camps.

They also conducted a camp to educate the police on how to deal with refugees. Some refugees complained that police have been harassing them and asking for identity and the reason for coming to Hyderabad.
101 East – Nowhere To Go
Naseer Siddique, a coordinator of COVA, said that refugees are under tremendous stress. “They are not able to cope in a new place. We are counselling them to help lead a normal life,” he said.

UNHCR said refugees in India have access to government health and education services, but sometimes they have difficulties in accessing these facilities.

“Poverty is a key challenge for many refugees and asylum-seekers in India, particularly the Rohingya. As the Rohingya find themselves in a foreign urban environment with limited education, they often work as daily wage labourers and may not make enough to cover their basic needs,” the spokesperson said.

According to the agency, Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine state continue to face restrictions in their daily movements. As a result, they have limited access to basic services like health care.

They also have no access to jobs as they cannot go to the farms, sea or markets where they used to work before the 2012 riots. These restrictions are making it hard for many Rohingya to survive in their country.

“Eighteen months after the first wave of unrest in Rakhine state, tensions are still high between the Muslims and Buddhists. About 140,000 people remain internally displaced and unable to go home. The majority are Rohingya, but there are also other ethnic groups among the Muslims, including the Rakhine, Kaman and the Maramagyi,” the spokesperson added.

UNHCR and other members of the international community have been advocating urgent action to promote reconciliation between the two communities.

The refugees are willing to go back if things improve.

“We want to return to our land if peace returns. We left everything to come here. We miss our land,” said Ahmed.

Source: Al Jazeera



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