‘It’s Like We’re Caged Everywhere We Go’ – By Tarushi Aswani
After decades of persecution in Myanmar, culminating in the military’s genocidal crackdown in 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have sought refuge around the world. Many of those who fled are struggling to resettle in their countries of asylum – especially in India, where nearly 17,000 Rohingyas live in refugee camps. Many say opportunities and health care here are worse than in other countries, such as in Malaysia, Thailand, and Bangladesh.
Rohingya refugees in India not only face deplorable living conditions but are also increasingly persecuted for the same reason they were in Myanmar: their religion. Anti-Muslim sentiment in the country has risen since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.
Over the past few years, his government has introduced policy changes aimed at rendering Muslims powerless and invisible – from revoking the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir, a Muslim-majority state, to passing a controversial citizenship law widely protested across India that is said to render many Muslims effectively stateless. In the process, Rohingyas have become a target of the anti-Muslim sentiment right. Now, they worry they’ll be forced to flee once again….