Have you heard of the “boat people”? They are 1.2 million people who are victims of the most horrendous crimes against humanity.
They have faced extrajudicial killings, mass sexual violence, and systematic rape. They have been denied citizenship and access to livelihood, healthcare, and education; their movement has been restricted and many have faced arbitrary arrests and have become forced laborers. These hapless people, whose heartbreaking tales of long standing rights abuses committed in the name of “ethnic cleansing” belong to Myanmar’s Rohingya community.
So, what do we do with such people when they knock on our door for shelter? Turn them away, leave them to their fate – to be raped, abused, slaved, and butchered?
India, where 40,000 Rohingya refugees have sought shelter, had this one question to answer today. However, Rohingyas have received an answer, cut and dry, from none other than the sanskari Indian Minister of Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju.
Recently, Rijiju told the Parliament, “The government has issued detailed instructions for deportation of illegal foreign nationals including Rohingyas.”
“If the government wants to deport us, it can do it but it will be better if they kill us here instead of sending us back,” said a Rohingya refugee living in India whose father was arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and jailed without trial for 7 years. “It is hell there,” he says.
Ali Johar, 22, says, “Deporting us back to Myanmar would be like pushing us into the mouth of a shark.”
The Home Minister says that “We are not a signatory to the accord on refugees. They are all illegal immigrants. They have no basis to live here. Anybody who is an illegal migrant will be deported.”
This stand of the Indian government does not sound convincing in a country that has given refuge to so many Sri Lankans, Afghans, and Tibetans in the past. Moreover, not being a party to the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention does not mean that India is not bound by the customary international laws which say that any refugee fleeing persecution cannot be forcibly turned away.
But the BJP is turning India into a country that has no humanitarian concerns.
So isn’t BJP’s slogan of Vasudeva Kutumbakam (all the world is a family) a hoax?
With VHP and other Hindu groups instigating vigilante-style attacks against Rohingyas and issuing xenophobic statements to fuel further violence against them, India’s ruling clique is facing flak at all international forums.
— DissDash (@dissdashworld) September 7, 2017
This decision of the Indian government will haunt the nation for generations.