Indian Civil Society Compassionate Toward Rohingyas Despite Government’s Plans
REUTERS/ Zohra BensemraAsia & Pacific17:33 25.10.2017Get short URL19102
Though the Indian government has repeatedly expressed its firm resolve to deport Rohingya refugees living illegally in the country, civil society in India is working silently to help Rohingya refugees and bring cheer to their lives.
NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — The Indian government views the Rohingya refugees as a terrorist threat. A case filed against the government’s decision to deport them is being heard by the country’s apex court. Top legal minds of India like Prashant Bhushan, Rajeev Dhawan, Fali S Nariman, Kapil Sibal and few more have been advocating for the Rohingya refugees in the case.
However, away from the arguments in the court, several ordinary citizens, men and women, in India are lending a helping hand to the Rohingyas who are forced to live in make-shift camps and even roadsides in extreme poverty and filth.
Mohammed Shihad, a tech professional in Delhi is a sports enthusiast and coordinates a student movement involving Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and some more private colleges to organize regular football tournaments and other activities for Rohingya refugees.
“We are extending the warmth which every person is entitled to from his fellow human being. The Solidarity with Football movement has helped develop some sensitivity towards the issue and the human rights of the Rohingya refugees,” Shihad told Sputnik.
A recent tournament saw a Rohingya team of refugees play a match with a local student team in a cordial atmosphere albeit under the watchful eyes of the Indian spy agencies.
“We know our activities are under strict watch but we are law abiding citizens of this country and are proud of its rich history. We cooperate with the administration completely,” Shihad added.
In another shining example of reaching out to the needy, Prof T K Thomas, chairman of the Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Foundation helps collect food items and clothes for the refugees.
READ MORE: India’s Apex Court Puts Hold on Government’s Plan to Deport Rohingyas
“It is not a structured project under any organization but I appealed to well-wishers and told them about the situation and help started pouring in. I and my son are helping as individuals to collect these clothes and food items to reach the needy Rohingya community,” Prof T K Thomas told Sputnik.
Another community organization amongst the Sikh faithful in Delhi is doing a commendable job by reaching out to the Rohingya refugees in India. Its volunteers in Delhi not only collect aid materials but also are volunteering to join the relief party in Bangladesh.
“We have our volunteers from Delhi as part of the relief team in Bangladesh. There are people from across the country including from Jammu. We collect relief material and channel it to the Bangladesh team,” a Sikh community leader told Sputnik on condition of anonymity.
READ MORE: Bangladeshi Minister to Visit Myanmar with Roadmap for Repatriation of Rohingyas
Meanwhile, a public appeal calling for the government of India not to deport the Rohingya refugees initiated by Amnesty International has been widely shared by many on social media. The appeal has attracted a huge number of signatories from all walks of life.
READ MORE: Rohingya Gridlock: Amnesty Accuses Myanmar of Crimes Against Humanity