Ignoring Hindu refugees from Pakistan, 5,000 Rohingya Muslim allowed by Congress led Govt. to marry, settle on Yamuna’s banks



About 8,900 Rohingya, by the UNHCR India office’s count in February, have also made their way to India over the past months. Social worker Ubais Sainulabdeen, who is working with the Rohingya here, puts this number at 15,000. Hostilities have flared again of late—the BBC reported 40 people killed in Rakhine state last month. The CPM was planning to raise a question about the Rohingya in the last session of Parliament before the General Election. “I visited the Rohingya refugees in Delhi in December, when it was freezing. This is a pressing matter, but unfortunately because of the Telangana upheaval, it will have to wait for the next Parliament,” says A Sampath, the CPM’s Attingal MP.

For some reason, 55-year-old Abul Hashim cannot stop thinking about his fishing equipment. What a strange thing, to leave behind the things accumulated over a lifetime—the home, the rooms-full of conversation, his friends, and to think only of the fishing equipment. A one-time resident of Maungdaw district in Myanmar, he arrived in Delhi three weeks ago. For 25 days, there had been fighting and arson in his village. Half his friends and relatives were dead, or gone, or missing. Everyday people were planning to leave by boat, in the dead of the night. So Hashim decided to leave too.

It was 2 am when Hashim, his wife and their four children crept out of home to catch their boat to Bangladesh. The cops are less alert at night; all day, they patrol the villages, “taking what they want, our plump chickens, our potatoes, bags of rice,” says his volunteer interpreter.

The boat Hashim took was crammed with refugees, perhaps many of them his neighbours and relatives. But he didn’t have the heart to look at their faces; instead, he remembers how dark the water was. He was in Banglade“First, we have to get you a wife,” says Mohammad Haroun, one of the refugees who has been in India for several years. Issaq grins and murmurs this can wait till he gets to ‘Saudiya’. “You need to get a passport for that, you don’t need a passport or permit to get married here [unlike in Myanmar, where the Rohingya need an official sanction to marry]. So many have got married at this camp,” says Haroun bhai. “A wife can make a home of a store-room, dil basa degi (give your restless heart a place to roost). A couple of girls, in fact, have been asking after you,” he grins at Issaq. It makes him chuckle, this quiet, solemn young man who is shy of speaking in his own interview.sh for about a week, where he arranged for his wife and four children to live in a Rohingya settlement; his aunt is also there. He came to India by car with the help of a ‘dalaal’ (broker).

The UNHCR office in India has registered 4,000 Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers; 2,900 applications are under assessment. Cards apart, the sum of the UNHCR’s assistance to these refugees amounts to a few bars of soap, 50 blankets that were handed out in Delhi’s vengeful winter, and women’s kits comprising underwear, sanitary napkins and toiletries.

Source: .Openthemagazine.com