Rohingya Muslims are from Myanmar. They are ethnic Muslims who were living in the Rakhine province in the Arakan region. Myanmar government does not recognise Rohingya’s as their citizens. Rohingya Muslims have their roots in Bangladesh and they are referred to as Bengalis in Myanmar. As Myanmar does not recognise Rohingya’s they are practically stateless for 35 years.
Even though Myanmar government derecognised Rohingya Muslims thousands of them started leaving the country only from 2012. As they spoke Bengali they started going to Bangladesh in large numbers. As the number of emigrants from Myanmar was increasing very fast Bangladesh chose to stop all humanitarian assistance to Rohingya Muslims leaving them helpless
They headed towards Thailand. Thailand’s navy gave them food and medicines but did not allow them to land on their territories Then the Rohingya Muslims went to Malaysia thinking that a Muslim majority country would give them shelter. Malaysia adopted the same policy as Thailand. The Rohingya’s went to Indonesia, another Muslim majority country, and managed to enter it. By the time Indonesian government declared that Rohingya’s were not welcome into their country thousands of them had already taken shelter there.
By now all the doors were closed and Rohingya’s turned towards India. They entered India through India – Myanmar border and India, Myanmar, Bangladesh trijunction. There are 40,000 Rohingya Muslims living illegally in India. Rohingya Muslim population has increased four times in India over the last two years.
International organisations have appealed to India not to deport the Rohingya’s. The government’s decision to deport the Rohingya’s concerns the security of India. It should be noted that India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention of the U.N or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. India does not have a refugee specific law and the matter falls under the Foreigners Act of 1946, enacted by the Central Legislative Assembly. The Foreigners Act makes undocumented physical presence of a foreigner in India a crime. It also empowers the government to detain a foreigner living illegally in India till that person is deported.
The problems caused by Rohingya Muslims in India
- Uncontrolled influx of migrants in the country will create social, political, economic and cultural problems.
- If India does not set down the rules of the game right now, it will be difficult to argue against and stop the influx later.
- Rohingya’s pose grave security challenge as they may be recruited by terror groups.
- Nearly 22% of India’s population is below the poverty line. 1 in 5 Indians are poor. A large number of people are unemployed. Indian government cannot help the Rohingyas when Indians are living in this condition.
- India is struggling with growing population, decreasing farmland and food shortage. Rohingya population in India will only increase these problems.
- This is a threat to the security, sovereignty and integrity of India. And this is a good ground under the Foreigners Act to deport them.
The Rohingya conflict is undoubtedly a massive humanitarian disaster. It should be solved locally, in Myanmar, by putting international pressure, working with the government there and sending aids to them.
You just can’t solve a crisis by importing it!