Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar persecution, only to find India is no different: ‘we’re living terrible lives’ (SCMP)

More than 270 Rohingya Muslims have been detained indefinitely by Indian authorities in Jammu since March 2021, despite holding official refugee status The prolonged detentions have left many families shattered, as refugees decry the lack of official assistance and do not know whether those detained are still alive

By Kamran YousufandDurdana Bhat

Muktayar Ahmad and his family made the harrowing journey from Myanmar to the makeshift shanties of India’s Jammu 13 years ago, but their struggle is far from over. His family is just one of many among the city’s community of Rohingya refugees who have been torn apart by indefinite detentions by Indian authorities.

“In 2021, they detained my wife and took her to Hirangar Jail. I haven’t seen her since then,” the 60-year-old told This Week in Asia. “We have been living terrible lives for the last three years.”

As for his youngest daughter, who is three years old, Mukhtayar said: “She doesn’t leave me for a second. Who takes away a mother from their kids? We were forced out from Myanmar like we were dogs. It’s no different here.”

Muktayar is one of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled their native Myanmar in fear of what the United States and others have classified as a genocidal campaign by the country’s military. Many came to settle in the city of Jammu, located in the southern portion of Indian Kashmir, between 2007 and 2015. They have since spread out to 22 locations across the city and built refugee camps on rented land, crammed with makeshift tenements.

There are an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims in India. The United Nations Human Rights Council has granted some 20,000 of them official refugee status, which is meant to protect them against violations of their human rights such as forced deportation and arbitrary detention.

This story was originally published in Read the full story here .

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