Refugees ….. Are They A ‘Problem’ ?


We came here to find refuge
They called us refugees
So we hid ourselves in their language
Until we sounded just like them……
J J BOLA … “Refuge”

India has grappled with refugees many times in history. According to UNHCR there are about 31, 000 refugees registered with the organisation by the end of December 2014. In the 16/17 centuries , Zoroastrians ( known as Parsis) migrated to Gujarat as refugees. The partition saw massive population exchange and many refugees came to India. The refugees from Sri Lanka( Tamils), from Afghanistan, Bangladesh came to India from their home lands due to persecution by the government of their country. ( wikipedia). They settled in different parts of India.

Latest statement of Indian government that India cannot be the refugee capital has triggered a row. The additional solicitor general’s statement in Supreme Court on Rohingyas indicate a narrow- minded approach on refugees. The government is planning to deport all 40, 000 refugee from the country.

Prashant Bhushan, representing the refugees said that it was against international law on human rights. The deportation is also against human values of right to life. In an article Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a renowned Gandhian, analysed the shortsighted vision of the government ( If that door should shut now, published February,4, 2018, He also explains how the dictum ‘ bahujanahitaya bahujanasukhaya’ vouchsafing the good of many and happiness of many is being subverted. The main tenets of protecting those who seek shelter ( which find prominent mention in all religious scriptures particularly hindu ) are being violated by the very government that vows to protect hinduism.

Similar traits can be observed the world over, specially in US where the Trump government is making all out efforts to deport people of islamic nations. European nations are unwilling to accommodate Syrian and other refugees from middle east. A tendency of right wing nationalism is on the rise in many parts of the world.

Instead of ‘ sending back’ refugees to suffer, India must use its offices to assure Rohingyas safety and security in Myanmar by exerting pressure on the government of Suu Kyi to stop attacks. If peace prevails in Myanmar, they would not take risks in crossing to other countries.

Also, the double standards of government are palpably visible. While refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan are being given a soft corner ( most of them being hindus) , being a sect of muslims becomes additional disadvantage to Rohingyas. Thus, communal considerations are given prominence over human values. This partisan view must be shelved and humanity must prevail so that the adage ” vasudhaika kutumbakam” which is core value of hindu religion is followed by the people who profess it.

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere

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