Rohingya refugee crisis refers to the “mass migration of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia”.
Who are Rohingyas ?
Rohingyas are indigenous to Rakhine state in Myanmar settled since 15th century. Collectively they fall under muslim Indo-Aryans. However, according to Myanmar government, they are illegal immigrants migrated to Rakhine following Burmese independence and Bangladesh liberation war. They are victims of an organized genocide and are one of the world’s persecuted minorities.
This crises received international attention followed to Rakhine state riot in 2012. In Myanmar, these Rohingyas do not have citizenship and hence they are stateless.. Rohingyas started to move into Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. At first Malaysia refused to provide any kind of refugee but agreed to provide provisions and send them away. Thailand said it would provide humanitarian assistance and would not turn away boats that wish to enter their territory. Bangladesh is one country where majority of the refugees are taking shelter. Soon, Bangladesh was flooded with Rohingyas and couldn’t provide shelter to the incoming people and they asked India for providing assistance to tackle the issue.
India’s response to Rohingya crisis :
1. Nearly 40000 Rohingyas have their home in India. India has been receiving Rohingya refugees and allowing them to settle in different parts of the country over years. In 2012 December, India’s external affairs minister visited Rakhine and donated million dollars for relief. However India considers the refugee crisis as an internal affairs of Myanmar.
2. India outlined the plan to deport around 40K Rohingyas who are illegal staying foreign nationals for the below reason :
a. According to Government of India, there are no refugee camps established for either Bangladesh or Rohingyas in India and there are schemes of assistance for Tibet and Sri Lanka refugees.
b. India considers the issue as an internal affairs of Myanmar.
c. India doesn’t want a conflict of interests with new regime in Myanmar as Myanmar has a key role in India’s look east policy.
d. India already has many issues like poverty, unemployment etc for her own people. Allowing Rohingyas may further increase the burden on these levels.
e. Recent reports say that some of the Rohingyas are turning into militants with tactical training and guerilla operation skills.India had a history of Lankan refugee issue which eventually ended up in assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. So allowing Rohingyas will open up a security issue which may lead to political, governance and economic problems in the country.