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How the world’s largest democracy treats the world’s most persecuted minority

01 July 2019
In November 2016, this madrasa in one of the camps in Narwal, the largest Rohingya settlement in Jammu, caught fire. No one knows the origins of the fire. Most of the houses in the camp were charred, and it was rebuilt from scratch.
hashim badani
In November 2016, this madrasa in one of the camps in Narwal, the largest Rohingya settlement in Jammu, caught fire. No one knows the origins of the fire. Most of the houses in the camp were charred, and it was rebuilt from scratch.
hashim badani

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FIFTEEN KILOMETRES FROM the headquarters of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, located in the posh south-Delhi neighbourhood of Vasant Vihar, lie the dusty lanes of the industrial district of Okhla. Near the banks of the Yamuna, the neighbourhood of Madan Khadar houses Muslim migrant communities that provide cheap labour for Okhla’s furniture, sugar and leather factories.

Here, in a neat row of tenements that the locals call Darul Hijrat—abode of the migrant—Mohammad Salimullah’s wife, Fatima Begum, was brewing tea in a five-by-six-foot grocery store. It was December 2017. In the lane outside, the children were concluding their evening games in the mud, singing the popular Rohingya song “Arakan desher Rohingya jaati”—The Rohingya from the country of Arakan.

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    SOUMYA SHANKAR reports on politics, social movements and foreign policy. She teaches journalism at Stony Brook University, New York.

    Keywords: Rohingya Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army Modi government Myanmar refugee refugee camps United Nations BJP deportation Jammu Kathua Okhla Haryana Adityanath Rakhine Indo-Bangladesh border Bangladesh
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