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Shelter pell-mell: Why are Rohingya refugees making headlines again?

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Rohingya refugees have once again made headlines in India. This time the news is about their housing and shelter. On Monday, reports emerged that refugees would be given apartments with basic amenities and 24-hour security in Delhi’s Bakkarwala area.

Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri took to Twitter to welcome the decision.

“India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision, all #Rohingya #refugees will be relocated to EWS apartments in Delhi’s Bakkarwala area. They will be provided with basic amenities, maps UNHCR ID and around-the-clock @DelhiPolice protection,” Puri tweeted.




The decision was reportedly taken at a high-level meeting on Rohingya accommodation chaired by Delhi’s chief secretary. The meeting brought together officials from the Delhi government, Delhi police and Home Ministry.

“Those who have made a career out of spouting canards about India’s refugee policy by deliberately linking it to #CAA will be disappointed. India respects and follows the @UN Refugee Convention 1951 and offers refuge to all, regardless of their race, religion or beliefs,” Puri said. tweet read further.

The refugees were to be moved to 250 apartments belonging to the category of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the village of Bakkarwala.

However, the Home Office quickly tweeted that the central government had made no such announcement.

“Regarding the reports in some sections of the media regarding Rohingya illegal aliens, it is clarified that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given no instructions to provide EWS apartments to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi,” the read tweet said.


The MHA further said that the Delhi government had offered to relocate the Rohingya to a new location. But the ministry ordered the GNCTD to ensure that Rohingya illegal aliens “will continue at the current location”.

The statement said the Home Office has already raised the issue of their deportation with the country concerned through the MEA.

In 2017, the Rohingya fled their home country of Myanmar to Bangladesh and then to India to save themselves from the violence that had erupted in Rakhine, their home state. In the first month of violence alone, between August 25, 2017 and September 24, 2017, more than 6,700 people died in the attacks, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The violence erupted when armed forces and police mounted an attack in Rakhine to suppress the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). ARSA had previously taken responsibility for attacks on police stations in Myanmar.

Since then, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled the country seeking asylum in neighboring Bangladesh and India.

In India, they will remain in detention centers.

“Illegal aliens should be kept in a detention center until deported according to law. The Delhi government has not declared the current location as a detention center. They have been advised to do the same immediately” , reads the tweet from the MHA.