The civil society groups demanded that government of India must desist from deportation plan of Rohingya refugees
ABDUL BARI MASOUD | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Under the banner ‘Solidarity with Rohingya’, many civil society groups on Wednesday organized a massive protest near the Myanmar embassy here to express solidarity with the hapless and persecuted Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar.
Voicing their strong indignation at the governments of India and Myanmar, they sent out a loud and clear message to the international community and civilized world to act immediately against Myanmar for stopping the genocide of Rohingya minority.
While coming down heavily on the BJP-led government’s “communal attitude” towards the Rohingya refugee issue, the groups demanded that the government of India must change its stand on deporting them and offer them humanitarian assistance.
All the speakers at the protest underlined that the Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted and ignored community on the earth. They have been even persecuted after Myanmar got an elected government under the Noble peace laureate and “champion” of democracy Aung San Suu Kyi. They said Suu Kyi’s response to “ethnic cleansing” against the mostly-Muslim minority in the country’s Rakhine province has exposed her true face.
They also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding the government of India to abandon its deportation plan of Rohingya refugees and use its influence over Myanmar to stop genocide and persecution of Rohingyas.
They pointed out that India has been hosting more than 3,78,600 refugees from eight different countries. They deplored some ministers and BJP-RSS leaders’ “provocative and communal” statements portraying Rohingya refugees as a “security threat to Hindus”.
Prof Apoorvanand alleged that the ruling party and its affiliates are trying to milk the issue for their political gains. “This is an old tactic of communal forces to create fear-psychosis among Hindus by portraying Rohingya refugees as a threat to them,” he added.
All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawart president, Naved Hamid criticized the prime minister for not uttering a single word during his recent visit to Myanmar. “It is unfortunate that a head of democratic government sees a humanitarian problem with a communal angle,” he said.
Prof Apoorvanand alleged that the ruling party and its affiliates are trying to milk the issue for their political gains. “This is an old tactic of communal forces to create fear-psychosis among Hindus by portraying Rohingya refugees as a threat to them
Echoing his, Rashtriya Janata Dal national spokesperson and Delhi university teacher, Prof Manoj Jha said it was India’s traditional policy that it has always welcomed the people who were in distress or were persecuted in their native countries.
“The message of this protest is very loud and clear. We want India to remain committed to the stated position we had on refugees and asylum seekers,” he added.
Talking to Caravan Daily, human rights campaigner Ravi Nair said since this government came to power the Indian political and diplomatic leadership has been giving the Goebbelsian spin to human rights, tolerance, democratic norms, and standards.
On the government’s intention of deporting Rohingya refugees, Nair, who is Executive Director of South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC), while referring to the hints from the central government to deport Rohingyas from India, said that said under the Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, the government cannot deport any refugee forcefully.
He also mentioned that the Gujarat High Court and the Mumbai High Court have in the past ruled that without any investigation and without the determination from UNHCR, no refugee can be forcibly sent back.
Among those who addressed the gathering were Janata Dal (secular) general secretary Kunwar Dansih Ali , Jamaat Islami Hind’s secretary general Mohammad Salim Engineer, Welfare party President SQR Ilyas, Nusrat Ali, Father M D Thomas, student leaders Shehla Rashid, Umar Khalid, Mohit Pandey and others.
Many women also joined the protest who came from far flung areas to express their anger against the atrocities committed on Rohingyas.
Shama Khan told Caravan Daily that she came to vent her anger against the Indian and Myanmar governments.
Hakim Masood Akhtar, an old man, who was also present in the demonstration, said Myanmar has even outdone Israel in atrocities as thousands of people including children were massacred by the government forces there.
The vocal and agitated crowd staged a peaceful yet charged protest with heavy sloganeering to express solidarity with the hapless Rohingyas. They carried placards with different messages, and slogans condemning Indian and Myanmar governments.
After the protest, agitating leaders submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that the government must change its stand on deporting Rohingya refugees and offer them humanitarian assistance. It underlined that “Rohingyas are being humiliated, persecuted, their children, women and men are butchered, their homes and villages are torched and burnt. They need full support from the Government of India on humanitarian grounds for protection of their life and dignity. India has a long historical tradition of providing refuge to the persecuted communities of the world and this noble tradition continues even after Independence”.
The memorandum also mentioned the breakup of the refugees from different nationality who have been living in India:
1. Buddhists from Tibet – 1,50,000
2. Muslims from Afghanistan – 9,000
3. Hindus & Christians from Sri Lanka – 90,000
4. Hindus, Muslims & Tribals from Bangladesh – 7,000
5. Christians and Muslims from Somalia – 400
6. Muslims from Palestine – 200
7. Hindus from Pakistan – 1,15,000
8. Rohingya Muslims from Burma – 40,000
It urged the government to reconsider the statement given and action carried out by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju regarding deportation of Rohingyas back to the place from where they fled.
It further stated that the statement of the Minister violates the idea of India, Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the international laws, as well as our own golden traditions of sheltering the persecuted people and groups.