India decides to offer shelter to Muslim refugees
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In a complete U-turn from its stand on Rohingyas, India on Wednesday decided to offer shelter to the Muslim refugees who poured into this country in the wake of ethnic violence in neighbouring Myanmar.
Indian Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter to inform the government's decision. "India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country," he wrote.
"In a landmark decision, all Rohingya refugees will be shifted to EWS (economically weaker section) flats in the Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs and round-the-clock Delhi Police protection," the minister said.
According to the United Nations, an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees are currently in India, most of them having fled Myanmar in 2017 when a military crackdown began against them there.
In the absence of a clear refugee policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist BJP government has long termed the Rohingya refugees as “illegal immigrants” and a “threat to national security”.
India had earlier given shelter to Tibetan refugees and Tamil refugees from the neighbouring island nation of Sri Lanka, despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.