The Hindu – India welcomes starting of Rohingya repatriation process

Kallol Bhattacherjee

New Delhi – India, 01 November 2018. India on Wednesday welcomed the decision of Bangladesh to begin the process of repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. The response from an official source came hours after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to send 2,300 Rohingya back to Rakhine province.

“If they have agreed to take 2,300 Rohingya refugees then we will consider this as a good beginning. We have been saying that the Rohingya crisis can be solved with the repatriation of the community to the land of their origin in Rakhine province of Myanmar,” said an official source welcoming the step.

Teams of diplomats from Bangladesh and Myanmar met on Tuesday and agreed on this plan during a high level Joint Working Group meeting held in Dhaka. The meeting was attended by Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and his Myanmar counterpart Myint Thu.

On Wednesday, both officials visited the Rohingya camps near Cox’s Bazaar to talk to the 2,300 Rohingya citizens of Myanmar who are among more than one million Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in Bangladesh during 2017-18.

The agreement was preceded by a warning from a top UN diplomat who pointed out that Myanmar had not stopped human rights violation of the Rohingya community inside its territory.

India has been suggesting repatriation of the Rohingya refugees and has also contributed to creating housing settlements for the people who choose to return to Rakhine province.

“We believe repatriation will have to be coupled with socio-economic measures to ensure continued welfare of the Rohingya community on their land,” said the source.

Myanmar and Bangladesh had concluded an agreement last year to start return of the community who fled after the Myanmar military conducted a security campaign in the region. Repatriation of the community was to begin in January this year but it has been delayed so far.

Activists have expressed concern on the latest announcement saying that the return of the Rohingya refugees should be preceded by security guarantee from Myanmar.

Relief organisation Oxfam in a statement said, “The international community needs to step up diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to grant equal rights to the Rohingya, while continuing to support Bangladesh to assist all those in need.” Myanmar has said that it is trying to sensitise its military about ensuring safety of the community.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-welcomes-starting-of-rohingya-repatriation-process/article25384602.ece

Advertisements

BBC News – India under fire as it deports Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar

India has deported seven Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, despite last-minute appeals that doing so put them at risk.

New Delhi – India, 04 October 2018. The men had been detained since 2012 for immigration violations. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court refused to step in to stop their deportation.

At least 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar in the past year.

UN officials have accused Myanmar’s military of ethnic cleansing. The army says it has been tackling insurgents.

The Rohingya are one of many ethnic minorities in Myanmar, where the government sees them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

The seven men deported on Thursday had been interred in a detention centre in India’s Assam state. They were handed over at the Moreh border crossing in neighbouring Manipur state.

“These are Myanmarese nationals whose identities have been confirmed by their government. The government given them travel permits,” L S Changsan, a senior Assam official, told the BBC’s Vineet Khare.

The UN special rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said India risked breaching its international legal obligations by returning the men to possible harm.

“Given the ethnic identity of the men, this is a flagrant denial of their right to protection,” she told AFP news agency.

These are among the first deportations of Rohingyas from India since deadly attacks on police in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017 sparked a military offensive.

Officials in India say two Rohingya men were sent back in August – but this has not been confirmed by Myanmar.

Last year India announced it would deport its entire Rohingya population, thought to number about 40,000. This number includes some 18,000 Rohingya registered as refugees by the UN.

Despite the international pressure on Myanmar, India is actively pursuing a good relationship with the country’s army officials.

Correspondents say India hopes to enlist their help in acting against militants in India’s north-east, many of whom are based in Myanmar’s jungles.

India’s government also aims to grow its influence in Southeast Asia to counter China’s increasing presence in the region.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-45743951

The Hindu – Canada strips Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship

Ottawa had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 28 September 2018. Canada’s parliament has voted unanimously to effectively strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship over the Rohingya crisis.

Ottawa had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.

But her international reputation has become tarnished by her refusal to call out the atrocities by her nation’s military against the Rohingya Muslims minority, which Ottawa last week declared a genocide.

“In 2007, the House of Commons granted Aung San Suu Kyi the status of honorary Canadian citizen. Today, the House unanimously passed a motion to remove this status,” said Adam Austen, spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Thursday.

A brutal military campaign that started last year drove more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh, where they now live in cramped refugee camps, fearful of returning to mainly Buddhist Myanmar despite a repatriation deal.

Many have given accounts of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and arson.

The military has denied nearly all wrongdoing, justifying its crackdown as a legitimate means of rooting out Rohingya militants.

But after a fact-finding mission, the United Nations on Thursday set up a panel to prepare indictments against Myanmar’s army chief and five other top military commanders for crimes against humanity.

Ms Suu Kyi’s democratically-elected government remains in a delicate power balance with the generals, whose presence in parliament gives them an effective veto on constitutional changes.

Mr Austen cited Ms Suu Kyi’s “persistent refusal to denounce the Rohingya genocide” for the withdrawal of the Canadian honour, which is symbolic and comes with no special privileges.

“We will continue to support the Rohingyas by providing humanitarian assistance, imposing sanctions against Myanmar’s generals and demanding that those responsible be held accountable before a competent international body,” he added.

Honorary Canadian citizenship has only been granted to five others including the Dalai Lama, girls education advocate Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/canada-strips-aung-san-suu-kyi-of-honorary-citizenship/article25067947.ece?homepage=true

The Hindu – Our first aim is to oust BJP from power: CM Mamata Banerjee

Opposition will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha election under a collective leadership, she says.

Sobhana K Nair

New Delhi – India, 02 August 2018. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that the Opposition would fight the 2019 Lok Sabha election under a collective leadership, and the first aim was to oust the BJP government from power.

Ms Banerjee’s statement to journalists in New Delhi on Wednesday came after she held daylong parleys with leaders of 10 Opposition parties.

The Trinamool Congress chief met all leaders expected to play a key role in the Lok Sabha election: Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, Janata Dal (Secular) leader Deve Gowda and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

To a question at a media interaction after she met the Gandhis, whether she considered herself to be the face of the Opposition coalition in 2019, she said: “There is a song by Rabindranath Tagore that in a democracy ‘Amra saboi raja’ [All of us are kings].

All of us are together, we are all for all.” The question was posed to her repeatedly through the day.

Answering it earlier in the day, she said, “Please don’t discuss all these things. The Prime Minister does not matter to us. I want my country to progress. I want farmers and labourers to have a good life. I want communal harmony… ‘Pehle BJP ko haraane dijiye, phir baith kar dekhenge’ (Let’s first defeat the BJP, then we will sit and discuss)”.

She spent the first half of the day in Parliament meeting floor leaders of various parties. Her first meeting of the day was with BJP elder L K Advani. After the meeting, she said, “I know Advaniji for a very long time. I went to enquire about his health. It was a courtesy call”.

Back in the Trinamool Congress office, packed with MPs and reporters, senior leaders walked in one after the other. The first ones to arrive were Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel.

“Trinamool and Congress will chalk out floor strategies against the government, especially on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue. Mamata expressed pleasure at the Congress-Trinamool working in tandem. Congress-Trinamool will carry out joint issue-based protests,” a senior Congress leader said.

Then walked in Mr Ramgopal Yadav. He was followed by Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders Misa Bharati and Jai Prakash Yadav.

YSR Congress leader Vijay Sai Reddy walked in with a single pink rose in hand. But before he could reach Ms Banerjee, a contingent of the Telugu Desam Party, comprising former minister Y S Chowdary and MP Kesineni Srinivas, walked in.

Ms Banerjee told them to convey her regards to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. After the TDP delegation left, Mr Reddy got a few minutes with her.

The other leaders who came to meet her included DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, Congress leader Ashwini Kumar, Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan and BJP rebel Kirti Azad. Later in the evening, Mr Kejriwal met her.

Targeting the BJP government over the NRC update exercise in Assam, Ms Banerjee said, “The NRC is a global issue because 40 lakh people have been deleted from a list of 2.2 crore people. Only BJP voters will have space in this country and non-BJP voters will be isolated,” she said at the Trinamool Congress’s Parliamentary Party office.

Counters Shah

Questioning BJP president Amit Shah who, on Tuesday, said ‘Bangladeshi ghuspethi’ (Bangladeshi illegal migrants) will be thrown out one by one and will not be allowed to vote, Ms. Banerjee said, “Bangladesh is not a terrorist country! When you say ‘ghuspethi’, you are insulting Bangladesh and India too because we speak the same language”.

She accused the BJP of doublespeak, with one section saying there would be no harassment, while another issued threats.

“Rajnath Singh says that no one will be harassed but his party says that we will push them out. Who is infiltrator? Who can be a bigger infiltrator than the people who dictate what to eat, what to wear…the ones who control media and one who interfere in judiciary too,” she said.

Ms Banerjee quipped that she herself would fail if such an exercise were to be repeated in West Bengal. “Luckily I am not from Bangladesh. Otherwise they would have labelled me too ghuspethi,” she said.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/our-first-aim-is-to-oust-bjp-mamata/article24576222.ece

BBC News – Assam register: Four million risk losing India citizenship

India has published a list which effectively strips about four million people in the north-eastern state of Assam of their citizenship

Guwahati – Assam – India, 30 July 2018. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, a day before neighbouring Bangladesh declared independence.

India says the process is needed to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

But it has sparked fears of a witch hunt against Assam’s ethnic minorities.

Fearing violence, officials say that no-one will face immediate deportation.

They say that a lengthy appeal process will be available to all, even if it means millions of families will live in limbo until they get a final decision on their legal status.

Who is affected?

Millions of people fled to neighbouring India after Bangladesh declared itself an independent country from Pakistan on 26 March 1971, sparking a bitter war. Many of the refugees settled in Assam.

Under the Assam Accord, an agreement signed by then PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1985, all those who cannot prove that they came to the north-eastern state before 24 March 1971 will be deleted from electoral rolls and expelled as they are not considered legitimate citizens.

More than 32 million people submitted documents to the NRC to prove they were citizens, but four million of them have been excluded from the published list.

Many Bengalis, a linguistic minority in Assam, are worried they will be deported en masse.

Hasitun Nissa, who spoke to the BBC’s Joe Miller days before the list was published, said she had never known a home outside the state’s floodplains.

It is where the 47-year-old schoolteacher spent her childhood, where she studied, where she got married and where she had her four children.

She said her family arrived in India before 1971 but she expected to be stripped of her Indian citizenship and feared her land rights, voting rights and freedom would be in peril.

Are Bengalis being targeted?

Activists say the NRC is now being used as a pretext for a two-pronged attack,by Hindu nationalists and Assamese hardliners, on the state’s Bengali community, a large portion of whom are Muslims.

Like Hasitun, many Bengalis live in the wetlands dotted along the Bramaputra river, moving around when water levels rise. Their paperwork, if it exists, is often inaccurate.

Officials claim illegal Bangladeshis are enmeshed in the Bengali population, often hiding in plain sight with forged papers, and a thorough examination of all documents is the only way to find them.

But Bengali campaigner Nazrul Ali Ahmed is adamant that the NRC is serving another agenda entirely.

“It is nothing but a conspiracy to commit atrocities,” he told the BBC.

“They are openly threatening to get rid of Muslims, and what happened to the Rohingya in Myanmar, could happen to us here.”

Such alarming comparisons are dismissed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which emphasises that the NRC is an apolitical task, overseen by the country’s secular Supreme Court.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-45002549

The Statesman – India fears mass influx as monsoon threatens Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camp

Bangladesh is looking at options like repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar or their transfer to a safer location. It is also looking at safeguarding the existing shacks of the refugees and steps to prevent an epidemic when the rains hit.

Dhaka – Bangladesh, 25 April 2018. With only two months to go for the monsoon rains to arrive, relocating Rohingya refugees to a safe place has emerged as a serious concern for the Bangladesh government.

It has also created a sense or worry for India’s Border Security Force (BSF) as intelligence inputs hint at mass influx when floods overwhelm the grounds where they are housed in refugee camps.

Over 1.15 million registered Rohingyas have been residing in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh, known as the Cox’s Bazar region, after they fled Myanmar to escape a military crackdown on their villages in Rakhine State on the night of August 24-25, last year.

Bangladesh is looking at options like repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar or their transfer to a safer location. It is also looking at safeguarding the existing shacks of the refugees and steps to prevent an epidemic when the rains hit.

The BSF, on its part, has put its troops along the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh border on alert to intercept any infiltration by the Rohingya refugees into India.

The Indian government has taken the position that they will not allow mass influx of illegal migrants as some Rohingyas had been found to have links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence for delivering fake Indian currency into the country. They were also said to be trying to illegally obtain Indian identification.

The BSF says it will have to follow the government’s order to the tee. “We have intelligence inputs that Rohingyas would try to enter India when the rains come and we are putting in place plans to stop them,” a BSF official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“All the Integrated Check Post commanders along the border have been instructed to be vigilant and stop any illegal entry,” he said. Although the nearest Indian border is about 100 km away, the ability of refugess to face hardships and traverse long distances in search of a safe haven is known.

Most of refugees live in flimsy, bamboo-and-plastic structures perched on what were once forested hills, as a visit by a group of 15 Indian and Bangladeshi journalists to Cox’s Bazar camp showed.

It would lead to a disaster if they remain in the area when Bangladesh gets lashed by cyclones, at the peak of rainy season in July. The visit of journalists was facilitated by the BSF and hosted by Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB).

According to Bangladesh’s meteorological department, the highest incidence of rainfall is recorded in the south-eastern part of the country where the biggest makeshift camps of Rohingyas’ are located, in Kutupalong and Balukhali, an area of around 144 square kilometres.

Computer modelling by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugess (UNHCR) shows that hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees would be threatened by floods and landslides during the monsoon.

“Up to a third of the land could be flooded, leaving lakhs of refugees living in the plains homeless… Refugee population living on slopes will also be at risk of landslide,” said an UNHCR report.

To cope with the situation the government is seeking relocation of the refugees back to their homeland. “The Bangladesh government is in a hurry to repatriate the refugees as per an agreement signed between it and the Myanmar government in November last year,” Brigadier General S.M. Rakibullah of BGB told IANS.

“We recently sent a list of around 100,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar for their identification and repatriation, but only a few of them were considered as nationals by their government,” said Rakibullah, Additional Director General and Regional Commander of Adhoc Region Headquarters in Cox’s Bazar, adding that “the repatriation of refugees is considerably delayed”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also expressed concern for the Rohingyas in view of the coming monsoons and has ordered new homes to be built for them on a nearby island called Bhasan Char, according to an official in Bangladesh’s Ministry of Information.

But it would be impossible to do that for all the 1.15 million refugees. Cox’s Bazar Assistant Director Rubel told IANS: “As water swallows the whole area south of Naff river during the monsoon season, evacuation of Rohingyas would become very difficult then”.

However, relocation to another area may not be easy as most of the places are populated by local Bangladeshis who are unlikely to take the presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees very kindly.

Officials point out that as it may not be possible to relocate a large number of refugees before monsoons, interim measures need to be taken.

And they are doing that. These include using bulldozers to improve roads, stabilise the slopes and level the land in the Kutupalong-Balukhali camp. The bamboo shacks on the hills are being strengthened by sandbags, but officials point out that when rains become extremely heavy, this measure may not help much.

Also, emergency medical centres to tackle cholera or mosquito-borne disease are being set up, and so are search and rescue and first aid teams, according to an official. Several international agencies, including UNHCR, are working alongside Bangladesh personnel to prepare for the coming rains.

But Nur Hussain, 40, whose brother was killed in the military crackdown in Myanmar, is not convinced. “My mud house and other makeshift shacks are not built to withstand storms, heavy rains or floods,” he said, looking at the skies with foreboding eyes.

My excuses, I lost the link to the newspaper article and even google cannot find it back

The Hindustan Times – Sushma calls on Myanmar President, Rohingya refugee crisis on the plate

An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August last year after large-scale violence following a military crackdown.

Nay Pyi Taw – Naypyidaw Union Territory – Myanmar, 10 May 2018. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday called on Myanmar President U Win Myint soon after she arrived in Nay Pyi Taw for talks with the country’s top leadership on key bilateral and regional issues, including the Rohingya refugee crisis.

An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August last year after large-scale violence following a military crackdown. The exodus of refugees in large numbers has resulted in a major crisis in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Swaraj is in Myanmar on a two-day visit for discussions on a number of bilateral and regional issues, including the situation in the Rakhine State from where lakhs of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh.

Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and it shares a 1,640 km border with a number of northeastern states, including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

On her arrival in Nay Pyi Taw, Swaraj was warmly received by India’s ambassador Vikram Misri and permanent secretary of ministry of foreign affairs of Myanmar U Myint Thu.

In December, India had announced a development assistance of $25 million for Rakhine State.

India on Wednesday sent to Bangladesh its second relief consignment to help tens of thousands of displaced following a military crackdown.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sushma-calls-on-myanmar-president-rohingya-refugee-crisis-on-the-plate/story-EthQ0bord0s4b3f2HX8AmL.html

Dawn – I was invited to talk on Partition. I was then told to talk on Independence as Partition ‘never happened’

Anam Zakaria

Op/Ed, 07 May 2018. The word ‘taqseem’ is commonly used by Partition survivors to refer to the events of 1947. A division, a split, a rupture that gave birth to Pakistan.

In English, the word ‘Partition’ is part of the established vocabulary that gives voice to one of the most significant events in recent history.

As an oral historian and researcher, I have interviewed hundreds of Partition survivors over the past several years. These words are uttered often in interviews, allowing people to share their memories, to in some way express what they had endured during the cataclysmic division.

And just as these words are present in all the interviews I have conducted, so too are the horror stories of Partition. Bodies chopped up, breasts cut, throats sliced, figures mutilated.

Regardless of the volume of work conducted on Partition, on both sides of the border, perhaps not even a fraction of the bloodshed and violence endured by Partition survivors has been captured in its essence.

Many of these survivors continue to live in the trauma of Partition, its journey ongoing, interjecting their dreams, their thoughts and their everyday lived experiences.

Yet 70 years after Partition, the Pakistani state has devised its unique way of referring to 1947; these official versions have their own ontology, removed from the context of the survivors.

The politics of recognition of certain events, or certain version of events, and the politics of denial of other episodes is at the heart of these policies.

I was recently invited to speak about Partition at a literary event. The students who were putting together the event had wanted me to share the Partition narratives I had collected, particularly focusing on the violence that the survivors had experienced.

I wasn’t surprised for it is often assumed that the only experiences of 1947 are the violent ones. It serves to justify separation, the creation of Pakistan that ‘liberated’ Muslims from the ferocious ‘infidel’ perpetrators they had left behind on the other side.

Narratives of inter-communal harmony, of nostalgia and longing of the pre-Partition past are seldom explored in the mainstream discourse.

However, days before I was scheduled to speak, there was a subtle change. I was no longer meant to talk about Partition; rather, I was supposed to limit myself to talk about ‘Independence’.

While 1947 indeed marks both Partition and Independence, one cannot talk about Independence without addressing Partition.

However, the organisers, I was told, believed that there was no Partition but only Independence that had taken place.

Moreover, they rejected the idea of discussing the bloodshed of 1947. Instead, they claimed there were no horrors. 1947 was Pakistan’s triumph, its victory. After all, if there was no Partition, how could there by any bloodshed?

Today, Partition has metamorphosed into Independence. And it is not Independence from the British but rather from ‘Hindu’ India.

The colonial past receives little attention in Pakistani textbooks and the Divide and Rule Policy is often sidelined. Using the Two Nation Theory to inculcate the idea that Hindus and Muslims were always separate nations, the two communities are shown as divisive throughout history.

A common phrase found in textbooks is, “Hindus can never be the true friends of Muslims.” 14th August then is a cause for celebration because it gave Pakistan independence from India.

In the collective memory of the nation, independence from the British holds little significance.

What the actual survivors feel, those who had fought tooth and nail to create Pakistan, those who had suffered the loss of family members and friends, of childhood, properties and their homeland, does not matter.

No taqseem, no Partition, no horrors took place. By depriving them of the language to express these sentiments, the state can erase any memories of longing, of remorse, of nostalgia. It can impose the official understandings of a tumultuous ‘victory’.

The use of selective language, of particular words and symbols, is a powerful way to mold memories and understandings. By imposing or depriving citizens of specific words, of the tool of language, states are able to construct identities, meanings and experiences that fit national projects.

Interestingly, while Pakistan insists on referring to the events of 1947 as Independence, when it comes to the 1971 war and the creation of Bangladesh, terms such as ‘The Fall of Dhaka’ or ‘Dismemberment’ are openly used.

This is in stark contrast to the use of the word ‘Liberation’ by the Bangladesh government. To call it anything else in Bangladesh can invite charges of anti-state behaviour, just as calling it Liberation or Independence in Pakistan would.

In India, it is unacceptable to refer to the part of Kashmir under India’s control as anything but Jammu and Kashmir. Titles like ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’ are deemed objectionable on the pretext that they challenge the notion that J&K is an integral part of the country, that they challenge India’s sovereignty over the territory.

The open and ongoing resistance against the Indian state by Kashmiris who indeed do challenge Indian rule and view India as an occupying force are dismissed.

By insisting that the territory is referred to as Jammu and Kashmir, the apparatus to express that occupation is snatched away.

Publishing houses and media outlets too are expected to abide by these ‘guidelines’ laid down by the state, undermining freedom of speech and denying Kashmiris freedom of expression.

In Myanmar too, there has been an active effort by the state to deprive the Rohingya community of their ethnic identity and their claim to the land by insisting that the Rohingya people should not be referred to by that name.

In 2016, it was reported that Aung San Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor of Myanmar, had advised that the term not be used. Foreign Ministry official, Kyaw Zay Ya, further reasoned that, “We won’t use the term Rohingya because Rohingya are not recognised as among the 135 official ethnic groups” in Myanmar.

By making the community nameless, the state can deny them the right to the land, the language to express their grievances, and the world recognition as a persecuted community, facing genocide.

The forced use of particular terms or the silencing of certain other terms like Partition, taqseem, Rohingya, Indian-administered or Occupied Kashmir successfully suppress indigenous voices, sentiments and aspirations.

States are able to rein in elements that may question state policies, histories and ongoing violence perpetuated in the name of security.

Through this politicisation of language, attempts are made to try to reconstruct national identities, sidelining the very citizens that often helped create and sustain these nation-states.

Did you, or anyone in your family, have to leave home due to Partition? Share your story with us at blog@dawn.com

Anam Zakaria is the author of Footprints of Partition: Narratives of Four Generations of Pakistanis and Indians and an upcoming book on Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1406178/i-was-invited-to-talk-on-partition-i-was-then-told-to-talk-on-independence-as-partition-never-happened

The Statesman – Ahluwalia seeks probe into alleged Rohingya camps

Siliguri – West Bengal – India, 09 May 2018. Concerned about information of alleged ‘Rohingya settlement camps’ at some border areas in north Bengal in Kalimpong district, Darjeeling MP and Union minister of state for drinking water and sanitation SS Ahluwalia has requested Union home minister Rajnath Singh to take initiatives to carry out investigations.

The Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) had informed Mr Ahluwalia through an email on 2 May on the “migration of Rohingya” in areas under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). In the letter, the BJYM mentioned that the Rohingya refugees had migrated to areas like Bhalukhop, Delo and its surroundings, Lava forest area and the Kalimpong-Rangpo highway.

It also informed him that they had received reports of their presence in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Mirik. “I have received information based on the letter of the BJYM on the presence of Rohingya refugees in some parts of the Hills.

Settlement camps have been set up in the sensitive chicken-neck area. Accordingly, I wrote to Union home minister Rajnath Singh to have the matter investigated and urged him to undertake proper measures to ensure that no such illegal settlements are allowed to come up,” Mr Ahluwalia said over the phone from Delhi today.

In the letter to the home minister, he says, “As you are aware, Darjeeling district and Dooars regions share three international borders, all of which are porous, and settlement of Rohingyas in this sensitive region can pose a serious national security threat.”

While there was a clamour earlier that some Rohingya Muslims had entered Kalimpong town, chairman of the GTA Board of Administrators, Binoy Tamang, had refuted reports and said that the group of Muslims who had reached Kalimpong were pilgrims from Kolkata and that it was a common practice for such groups to visit different mosques across India as part of their studies on their religion.

Mr. Tamang had also claimed that such hullabaloo had been created to by keeping the 2019 general elections in mind and to disturb the now peaceful Hills.

https://www.thestatesman.com/cities/ahluwalia-seeks-probe-alleged-rohingya-camps-1502633175.html

The Hindustan Times – 18 journalists killed in India in 5 years between 2012-2016: UNESCO

The UNESCO report said after a steep decline prior to 2014, the killings sharply rose across Asia and the Pacific region, with a total of 107 killings, and a high of 27 in 2016.

New Delhi – India, 03 May 2018.The number of journalists killed all over the world has seen a sharp rise in five years, with 530 such deaths, 18 of them in India, being reported from 2012 to 2016-end, a UNESCO report released on Thursday said.

The report on ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report 2017/2018’ said the number of killings was 67.72 per cent higher than the 316 recorded during the previous five-year period—from 2007 to 2011-end.

Syria, with 86, recorded the highest number of killings, followed by Iraq (46) , Mexico (37) , Somalia (36), Pakistan (30), Brazil (29), the Philippines and Yemen (21 each), Afghanistan (20), Honduras (19), India (18), Libya (17) and Guatemala (14).

Ten journalists were killed in Bangladesh, 10 in Ukraine, eight in France and six each in Paraguay and Turkey.

“The year 2012 proved to be the deadliest year on record, with 124 journalists killed,” said the report, released on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, which is marked today.

Although the number of journalists killed every year has seen a slight decline since 2012, the figures are still alarmingly high, the report said.

“With a number of Member States that have experienced periods of violent conflict, the Arab region remains the most dangerous for journalists, with 191 journalists killed between 2012 and 2016, including a significant peak of 50 deaths in 2012,” it said.

Despite registering a decline in the following years, the overall the region represents 36 per cent of all cases.

Latin America and the Caribbean saw an increase in the number of journalists killed during the period, with 125 killings overall and a peak of 28 in 2016.

“This trend can be largely attributed to organised crime, drug trafficking and corruption,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report said.

After a steep decline prior to 2014, the killings sharply rose across Asia and the Pacific region, with a total of 107 killings, and a high of 27 in 2016.

Comparatively, Africa, with 73 deaths, has seen a distinct decline in the killings of journalists over the last five years, down from 26 in 2012 to seven in 2016.

“Killings throughout Central and Eastern Europe have fluctuated over the past five years, presenting no clear trend but remaining relatively low,” the report said. As many as 17 journalist were killed in the region.

A generally low-risk region for lethal violence against journalists, Western Europe and North America (17 killings) have seen uncharacteristically high killings in the past three years largely due to violent extremism, it added.

Of the total 530 killings in 2012-2016, as many as 166 were TV journalists, 142 print, 118 radio, 75 online and 29 cross-platform.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/18-journalists-killed-in-india-in-5-years-between-2012-2016-unesco/story-RxHmItsOtHfpWuMdlZLe2I.html