It’s a minority and literally so as the Hindus, also caught in cross fire between Myanmar military and Rohingya Muslims, are currently under refuge in Bangladesh. One such lot is of nearly 500 people who are sheltered in a cleared-out chicken farm in a Hindu hamlet in Bangladesh’s southeast, a couple of miles from where most of the 421,000 Rohingya Muslims who have also fled violence in Myanmar since August 25 are living in makeshift camps.
The Hindu refugees say they are scared of going back to their villages in Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state, but also wary of staying in mostly Muslim Bangladesh. Modi government, meanwhile, is making it easier for Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other minorities from Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain citizenship in India. “India is also known as Hindustan, the land of the Hindus,” said Niranjan Rudra, sitting on a plastic sheet in the chicken farm flanked by his wife. “We just want a peaceful life in India, not much. We may not get that in Myanmar or here,” he said. Fellow refugees nodded in agreement, stating that they wanted the message to reach the Indian government through the media.
The Indian government declined to comment on the Hindu refugees’ hopes. A government source said it was waiting while the Supreme Court hears an appeal against the home ministry’s plans to deport around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims from the country.
But Achintya Biswas, a senior member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said India was the natural destination for the Hindus fleeing Myanmar. “Hindu families must be allowed to enter India by the government,” Biswas said by phone. “Where else will they go? This is their place of origin.”
Biswas said the VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh would submit a report to the home ministry on the refugees and demand a new policy allowing Hindus from Myanmar and Bangladesh to seek asylum in India.