Rohingya refugees in Indian capital will receive apartments and security

A girl from the Rohingya community stands in front of a store at a camp in New Delhi, India October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

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NEW DELHI, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in the Indian capital will be given apartments and given police protection, a government minister said on Wednesday, signaling a shift in stance towards members of the minority Muslim.

“India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge,” Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter, outlining new arrangements for Rohingya refugees in New Delhi.

“India respects and follows the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and provides refuge to all regardless of race, religion or creed,” Puri said.

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India is not a signatory to the convention which sets out the rights of refugees and the obligations of countries to protect them.

Puri did not elaborate on what he said was “around the clock” police protection, but there have been isolated incidents of violence against Rohingya in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has previously attempted to return members of Myanmar’s predominantly Buddhist minority, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled persecution and waves of violence in their home country over the years. (https://reut.rs/3PvPvBo)

Bangladesh has been home to almost a million Rohingyas.

At the start of this year, around 1,100 Rohingya lived in Delhi and another 17,000 elsewhere in India, many of whom worked as laborers, peddlers and rickshaw pullers, according to estimates by Rohingya rights activist Ali Johar.

He said some 2,000 people have returned to Bangladesh this year, fearing many will be deported.

“We welcome the statement on compliance with the UN refugee convention and the plan to resettle Rohingyas with better housing and facilities,” said Johar, 27, who came to India ten years ago. years old and lives with his family in rented accommodation in Delhi.

But Johar highlighted fears from the community, which has faced anger from some right-wing Indian Hindu groups, that the new facilities could be used to surround Rohingyas.

“If it turns out to be a detention camp, it will be a nightmare for us,” he said.

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Written by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Robert Birsel & Shri Navaratnam

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