There is a very large presence of the Rohingya and the Bangladeshi Muslim community all over Delhi. They have carefully crafted their shanties under flyovers, at empty grounds close to housing societies, and around the good offices of the UNHCR in. A few months ago, riots had broken out in some parts of Delhi on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti. All of the areas where the trouble ensued are heavily populated by the Rohingya and the Bangladeshi Muslim community. There is no telling how they got their Adhar Cards and other documents required to carry out small business and indulge in gainful employment. In 2017, 40,000 Rohingya were present in India according to official figures. In 2019, the Home Minister passionately declared that India will never accept the Rohingya. The slow and lethargic movement by the government as a follow-up to what the Home Minister had stated has been very difficult to bear, especially when the various Hindu Pakistani Bastis set up in Delhi are observed. The deplorable condition of these people was still mostly blamed on the Delhi Government, which have never shown even token interest in these people. At the same time, the UNHCR was working tirelessly to protect the interests of the refugees. Upon a chance visit to their offices in Delhi some years ago, it was discovered that the organization was taking up the cases of Rohingya, Afghanistanis, Syrians, and other middle eastern refugees. Perhaps it was also looking after a token Buddhist from Sri Lanka to keep the mix interesting. Their offices around Jhangpura area provided temporary accommodation in its basement and at the time, it was providing shelter to a number of Syrians as well as some ‘displaced’ Kashmiri Muslims. Lawyers engaged by the offices were providing counsel to a variety of people, and one overheard one such conversation which entailed the Lawyer advising the non-Muslim that it is best if he pursued his matter elsewhere. Needless to mention, generally no Hindus from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, or Pakistan are represented by the UNHCR in any court. It is the other Hindu organisations as well as the Sangh Parivar which is looking after the Hindus at an individual and institutional level in and around the settlements in the city. The UNHCR released a video of the national anthem on the occasion of India’s 75thIndependence Day, which showcased refugees hailing from mostly Afghanistan and some African countries. There was one Hindu-sounding name of a lady who was from Sri Lanka, and the rest were Christians. The video was shared widely by the UNHCR handle as well as that of the Ministry of Culture. There was not a single Hindu Pakistani or Bangladeshi in this video, yet it received likes and shares from thousands of Hindus. Today, the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs tweeted that, in a landmark decision, all Rohingya Refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi. It mentioned that they will be provided with basic amenities and round-the-clock protection from Delhi Police. The tweet went on to say that India respects and follows the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and provides refuge to all. Interestingly, India has always maintained a distance from this convention in the past and has clearly stated at all official levels that it is ‘Not a party’ to this refugee convention. Immediately, there was a flood of tweets criticizing the statement by the Union Minister, which was also copied to the PMO. Shortly after being at the receiving end of outrage, the same Twitter handle clarified, that this step was being taken after a Judgement was given by the Supreme Court to not deport the ‘refugees’ and they are being moved to the EWS flats to monitor their movement. The tweet further elaborated that the expenses of this ‘protection’ will be borne by the Delhi government. This clarification was met with more anger, this time also by Delhiites who protested strongly against the suggestion to spend their money on the upkeep of these illegals. Finally, the HMO came out with a tweet denying that the MHA has given permission to house the Rohingya, and prominently addressed them as “Rohingya Illegal Foreigners” and “Rohingya illegal migrants”. The whole episode is a great example of how to display strength in unity and what it can achieve. It also drives home the point that now the common Hindu has awakened to the extent that when it comes to protecting their own, she can persuade even the most revered authorities to ponder and retract. In the end, a word of caution. The UNHCR and other authorities functioning under the United Nations are not in any manner more powerful or more relevant than India and its citizens. Pandering to their agenda and indulging them at the expense of the collective Hindu conscience will not take anyone very far.
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