“Have You Brought Food for us”- A Closer Look at the Inhumane Rohingya Camp

June 01

Mubashir Naik

“I miss the smell of fresh cucumbers growing in our field. Here, the cucumbers and vegetables are fine, and they meet our needs, but it is not the same as the fresh food we used to enjoy back at home,” Fareeda now living in a make shift tent inside a refugee camp in Jammu’s Narwal area says.

As citizens of the world campaign for travelling freely, using digital passports and
electronic visas, this breed of forgotten people, the Rohingyas-are wandering around the globe by boat and on foot, Their very existence is being denied as having no nationality, no passports, and no papers, Wherever they, go they end up in jails, some in camps and detention. Children are being separated from parents, husbands from wives, and those lost somewhere in the world will never have a chance to see their families again.

Here in Jammu, it is a never ending story, they cannot call it home, prominent politicians called for them to run away from India calling them illegal immigrants, these people have been wandering aimlessly in search of a safe and welcoming place, and the hope to find that place, which is still uncertain. Hence, their fate as “Wanderers of the World” seems destined to be a
never-ending story.

Tall fences surround this camp and a timely guard would arbitrarily open and close the camp to incoming volunteers or visitors. Many luxury cars full of wealthy men from Jammu rolled up on the streets and the kids in these camps would steer till they fade away from the site.

A young kid was also leaning against the fence next to me, about 7 years old asked for water; he was thirsty. His father looked at him saying he had to be strong; there was no water. A little while later, he asked again and received the same response. Yet again he asked, and finally her father again had the same response.

Another luxury car approached, the kids take to the fence, all of them in a queue, a passenger seated in the back rolled down his window and stuck out his camera and tried to take a picture of these kids leaning against the fence as he threw a food packet at them from a distance.

Here in Jammu camp in Narwal more than 200 people are living in makeshift tents, a group of men sitting under the scorching sun at 44 Degrees in a make shift tent, remembering their days in Burma recall the brutality from Burma’s Army. “The genocide of Rohingyas is one of worst ever genocide of humans on earth planet,” a man in his mid fifties told The Kashmiriyat.

Stateless and displaced, over 730,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees fled their native Myanmar into Bangladesh in 2017 amid a brutal crackdown led by Myanmar military forces U.N. investigators have described it as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

According a report by the Government of India, at least 5500 Rohingiyas settled in Jammu’s Bathandi, Sunjwan and Narwal camps post 2012 when thousands of innocent were killed in the bloodbath and those who escaped from this bloodshed have no country ready to offer them their citizenship.

Today, more than 3000 children living in these camps have no access to a formal education. And its young girls like her are most vulnerable to exploitation. They risk early marriage, child labor or being trafficked on the black market.

In Jammu, these people have been victims of hate crime too. They are on the target of Hindutva groups, When ever there is any Militant attack in the kashmir valley, their tents are attacked. “Ironically these people don’t possess three times meal but some political miscreants are always behind them to fulfill their criminal political propaganda,” Asif Ahmed, a local from Narwal told The Kashmiriyat.

However, a member of the ruling BJP feels otherwise. “They are mere thrash and should be thrown out of here, they are criminals who have come to pollute our land, we must cleanse our pure soil of such elements,” he said.

As soon as i stepped inside a camp, i saw destitute children running towards me, “Have you brought us some food, we are hungry, please get us some food.” A woman approached near and said that they do not possess enough money to make arrangements of food for iftar.

Besides this, the fear of deportation and attack at any time from Right wing groups is looming on their heads. “Can you please ask government of India to let us settle in India because they too wanted to live a peaceful life.”

The condition of these homeless people is same everywhere. The countries that provided shelter to the Rohingya community should not ask them to exit making the community vulnerable, if the cost of humanity is still higher than politics.

Myanmar military refers to the Rohingya disgracefully as “ Bengalis” who intruded into Myanmar during the colonial era, But the Rohingyas are natives of Arakan, Rohingyas was one of the recognized indigenous race of Myanmar and belongs to Arakan. They are the descendants of Indo-Aryan people, since 1st century and then settled in Arakan State.