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Sounds From Rohingya Colony: From Hope To Fear In A Matter Of Hours

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) made it clear Wednesday it had not given any directions to provide flats to Rohingya Muslims in Delhi

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Mariam, a Rohingya Muslim who lives in a squalid Delhi locality, was happy she and her daughter would get to live in a pucca house for the first time in a decade.

A tweet by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri had raised her hopes, but a quick clarification by the Home Ministry meant the hope of getting a roof over her head in a faraway land was short-lived.

"We don't know why the Government of India changed their decision. The only thing I was happy about was that, my daughter and I would be living in a pucca building for the first time after a decade," the 35-year-old, living in Delhi's Kalindi Kunj, told PTI.

A section of the refugees living in Delhi's Kalindi Kunj has been apprehensive about their deportation in an "unfair" manner, after the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the Delhi government to declare the camps of the Rohingyas in Delhi as detention centres.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) made it clear Wednesday it had not given any directions to provide flats to Rohingya Muslims in Delhi and asked the Arvind Kejriwal government to ensure foreigners living illegally in the city remain at their present locations.

The ministry's clarification came hours after Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri put out a tweet saying India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country and announcing that all Rohingya refugees would be shifted to EWS flats in east Delhi's Bakkarwala area.

The 42-year-old Kabir Ahmed, a Rohingya Muslim who came to India in 2012 and holds an United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ID, said they "fear being mistreated" if their refugee camps is declared detention centres.

"We heard about how the other Rohingya refugees were treated after they were detained in a few states in India. I am afraid we will go through the same. We haven't harmed anyone and neither do we intend to harm any Indian," Ahmed told PTI.

Living in a small area along a narrow lane near Madanpur Khadar, Ahmed lost three children to snake bites over the last 10 years.

"I manage to earn a few hundred rupees a month to run my family by working as a labourer. We live in this tiny tent that gets waterlogged during the Monsoon. The living condition is so bad that I even lost three children due to snake bites over the last 10 years," Ahmed told PTI.

Mariam claimed some of the migrants in Kalindi Kunj "were told Wednesday they will be moved to detention centres".

"Some official visited us on Tuesday evening and we were told that we will be moved to somewhere else. We don't know why the Government of India changed their decision. The only thing I was happy about was that, my daughter and I would be living in a pucca building for the first time after a decade," Mariam told PTI.

Mariam, who was separated from husband five year and leaves with her daughter, said she moved to India 11 years ago. She said deals in scrap for survival.

"The children here go to the nearby government school but I don't even earn the bare minimum to take the responsibility of my daughter's education," she said.

She further claimed the refugees living there have no access to drinking water or toilets. "People here defecate in the open. There is no access to drinking water as well."

The MHA also said the Rohingya illegal foreigners are to be kept in detention centres until their deportation as per the law and the Delhi government has been directed to declare the current site of their stay as detention centre.

According to an estimate of the Home Ministry, around 40,000 Rohingya migrants live in different parts of the country, including Delhi.


(PTI)


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Rohingya minority delhi