Myanmar refugees find safe haven in city

A group of people from Myanmar has taken refugee in old city of Hyderabad. These people had escaped from their home country to escape the violence between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists going on since June 2012. Photo: G.Ramakrishna   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

It was no easy journey for Noor Mohammed to reach Hyderabad from Myanmar. The 22-year-old, along with his wife and a one-and-a-half year-old son, claim to have escaped from the riotous mob in their home town of Buthidaung in Myanmar and land in Hyderabad.

“They killed my father in front of us and I escaped along with my wife and child. I do not know about the fate of my mother and other family members. I walked through the forest and entered India and reached Kolkata. There I worked as a labourer for a few days and then headed to Hyderabad,” says a distraught Noor.

Around thirty families have taken refuge at Balapur, Kishanbagh and Hafeezbaba Nagar in old city here. They are still terrified and one can see it as they speak.

Scores are believed to have been killed and many displaced in the ongoing clashes between the Rakhine Buddhist and the Rohingya Muslims.

Hamidul Haq, 28, a Madrassa teacher from Buthidaung in Myanmar, shudders to recall the violence back home. “Rakhine mobs were on a killing spree. To escape them I left my family and ran away into a near by forest and along with a group of people crossed into India,” he says.

Same is the plight of other refugees who had to take shelter in the forest to escape the mob fury. “My house was burned down after we were asked to stay in the forest to avoid being killed. In the forest we survived by eating some fruits and leaves,” says Kafiathullah, 25, a teacher, in a choked voice.

Mohd. Rasheed, 55, an agricultural worker came to Hyderabad 20 days ago along with his family comprising nine members. “I will not go back to my country. I have lived all my life there only to be victimised,” he says. There were two other families who came along with him but they got separated on reaching India.

Allegations of people being killed by security forces while promising to take them to safer places are common. In fact, many feel the security forces are hand in glove with the marauding gangs.

The conflict began sometime in the month of June after a Burmese woman was allegedly raped by Rohingya Muslims. However, the refugees contest the claim. “It was only an excuse to start a fresh round of ethnic cleansing,” argues Abu Siddiq.

When contacted, Mazher Hussain, Executive Director of Confederation of Voluntary Association (COVA) - an implementing partner for UNHCR-India, said that they were helping people get ‘refugee status’ and that a few of them had managed to carry their identity proof issued by Myanmar government along with them.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:47:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/myanmar-refugees-find-safe-haven-in-city/article3708508.ece

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