Welcome to INDJustice!

India’s Stand on the Refugee Crisis

India’s Stand on the Refugee Crisis

By Satvik Mishra

Introduction :

By the end of 2016, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. In 2015 it was 65.3 million, with an increase of 300,000 people in the following year.[1]

Despite the fact that the contention in Syria has dislodged around 12 million individuals making the biggest flood of refugees to hit Europe since World War II, India also has needed to share the issues of a refugee emergency since the nation's autonomy in 1947. Starting at 2014, in excess of 200,000 refugees were living in India, as indicated by UNHCR. India has the biggest populace of refugees in all of South Asia.

India does not have any law on refugees but rather has been facilitating those escaping abuse in their countries looking for security and haven since relic and hosted displaced people according to its authentic conventions of accommodation. India is home to differing gatherings of refugees from all mainlands and regions of the world.

The Numbers Game :

Extended clash in Afghanistan has sent a few influxes of Afghan refugees to Indian urban communities. India has around 9,200 evacuees from Afghanistan, out of which 8,500 are Hindus. After the Partition refugees of 1947 came the Tibetans escaping Chinese oppression during the 1950s. The freedom of Bangladesh in 1971 sent thousands over the outskirt. There are additionally in excess of 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in Indian cities, principally in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Other refugee clans like Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs from Bangladesh have gotten refugee status in India. According to the 2011 census, 47,471 Chakmas live in the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh alone.[2]

At present, the Indian government just perceives around 110,000 Tibetans and 102,000 Sri Lankans as refugees. This may seem subjective, however is the result of political contemplations. Tibetans who came with the Dalai Lama to India in 1959 were permitted to stay as refugees in light of the fact that they were escaping abuse by Chinese powers. They have been given help and security by the Indian government, and have opportunity of development and access to habitation and work licenses.

Sri Lankans started moving to India in 1983 after the flare-up of a civil war between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil separatists. Over 67,000 Sri Lankan refugees remain in Indian camps, and a further 35,000 reside elsewhere in India, although some are in the process of returning.[3] While furnished with housing, nourishment, and stipends in assigned camps and access to the casual labor makrtes, their opportunity of development and business openings are constrained.

What governs the refugees in India?

India is not a signatory to either the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention or the 1967 UN Protocol on Refugees.[4] Without universal commitments or a national strategy, the law that applies to refuge searchers is the Foreigner's Act of 1946, which enables the legislature to confine the development of non-Indian natives into India as well as inside the nation. The Foreigner's Act – which characterizes an outsider extensively as any individual "who isn't a citizen of India" – is ambiguous about the contrasts between temporary inhabitants, visitors, travelers, and refugees.

There are a few laws that administer refugees, including the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939; Foreigners Act, 1946, and the Passport Act, 1967. The Center is attempting to ammend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to give citizenship to unlawful migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are religious minorities in those nations — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis. The proposed law does not perceive abused factions inside Islam as religious minorities.

The Controversy

The discussion over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, whose goal is to distinguish unlawful outsiders, for the most part from Bangladesh yet additionally from Nepal, will not fade away. Of the nearly 33 million NRC applicants, 4 million have been left out of the draft NRC, causing much heartburn and political mudslinging.[5]

India has arranged the Rohingya as unlawful migrants and a security danger, favoring the Myanmar government. The Indian government has expressed that the guideline of non-refoulement, or of not compelling evacuees to come back to their nation of origin, does not make a difference to India basically as it's anything but a signatory to the 1951 refugee convention. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, notwithstanding being oppressive, totally disregards the way that Muslim minorities face abuse in nations like the Shias, Ahmadis, and Sufis in Pakistan. The equivalent can be said about the Hazaras and other minority gatherings got in Afghanistan's progressing struggle.

Such endeavors may be entangled by the Supreme Court administering against the extradition of shelter searchers based on the right to life and individual freedom. Also, on the grounds that numerous Rohingya are effectively stateless, and not perceived as natives by Myanmar, their constrained repatriation could end up dangerous.


The lack of an official asylum policy in India has led the government to pursue an ad hoc approach to different refugee populations.[6] With no refinement between an evacuee and an outsider, a refugee and a foreigner, India's refugee reaction rotates around governmental issues as opposed to protection. Identity politics is the same old thing in India and has been a pillar, crosswise over progressive organizations. The Rohingya are among numerous communities escaping harsh governments. Unfortunately, the most oppressed communities on the planet get themselves unwelcome in the midst of the Hindu nationalist desires of the Indian state. India, with its moderately steady and majority rule mien in the locale, must lead the pack on detailing a comprehensive arrangement for refugees. When it yearns for a perpetual seat the UN Security Council, it is basic for India to have a refugee approach that ensures, as opposed to partitions, those out of luck.

[1] The United Nation High Commissioner on Refugees, Global Trends Report on ‘Forced Displacement in 2016’(2016)

[2] Varsha Singh, “India’s Stance on Refugees”, Media India Group, May 2018

[3] Dhruva Jaishankar, Tushita Saraf, “India’s traditional Refugee policy shows why it’s unlikely to give Rohingyas sanctuary”, The Print, 30 September 2017

[4] G Seetharaman, “NRC Row : Where does India stand on Refugees?”, The Economic Times, 6 October 2018

[5] Ibid.

[6] Swathi Gokulan, “Identity Politics and India’s Refugee policy”, The Fletcher Forum on World Affairs, 22 October 2018