No shelter, Myanmar refugees asked to move out yet again | delhi | Hindustan Times
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No shelter, Myanmar refugees asked to move out yet again

delhi Updated: May 14, 2012 03:15 IST
Shaswati Das

Twenty-seven-year-old Amina (name changed) is in the eighth month of her pregnancy. But this immigrant from the Rohingya community from Myanmar is more worried about getting a shelter over her head than the bundle of joy she would be holding in her arms very soon.

She is among the 2,500-odd Rohingya refugees who were camping at Vasant Vihar before they moved to Sultan Garhi on May 8. They not only lack access to medical facilities but other basic civic amenities such as shelters and toilets.

The refugees, who have come from Myanmar's Northern Rakhine State, were dealt with a final blow on Sunday morning when they were asked to leave the place. However, in a meeting held later in the evening by the mahapanchayat of the nearby village, the immigrants were allowed to stay till Monday morning.

Residents of Vasant Kunj and nearby villages had earlier met the chief minister demanding that the refugees be removed from Sultan Garhi.

Things took a turn for the worse when residents of Sultan Garhi protested and demanded the removal of the immigrants. Volunteers who had come to distribute food and medicines were also forcefully thrown out of the camp on Sunday.

"The refugees have been waiting with their luggage and they don't know where they will go from here. We came to give them food and assistance but were thrown out. There are expectant mothers and infants in the camp who desperately need care," said Sucheta De, president of JNU students' union.

"It is extremely hot and we are just being made to move from one place to another. No one has bothered to give us any shelter. People are falling sick and there are medical emergencies. But no agency is willing to help us; we are constantly being told to move from one place to another," said Mirza Rehman, in his 40s, who lives in the camp. There are nearly 200 children who are part of the camp.

Earlier, protests had broken out near United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) office at Vasant Vihar. Protestors were demanding a refugee status for these immigrants along with basic amenities. Delhi police ordered a crackdown and following the protest, banned any kind of protest near the UNHCR office.

"We have issued an order stating that there can be no public meeting or a gathering of five or more people or sloganeering within 200 metres of the UNHCR office," said a senior police official.