Bharatiya Janata Party’s Varun Gandhi asked for more comprehensive and rehabilitative measures for refugees in India saying the country’s approach towards them had much to improve.
In an opinion written in The Hindu, Gandhi mentioned several incidents of mistreatment towards refugees in India.From Chakma tribals’ experience in Arunachal Pradesh in 1962 to Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar in 1990, he had given a brief on the history of refugees in India.
“For a country that gained independence with a mass exchange of populations, India’s treatment of refugees has much to improve upon,” Gandhi wrote.
“Once granted refuge, India’s government tends to look the other way,” he added.
The MP also noted down the experiences of refugees from East Pakistan in 1947 and Nepali-speaking people evicted from Bhutan to show how Indian government treated them. The privilege with which the Tibetan people was treated also came under his criticism.
“Some refugees, the Tibetans who arrived between 1959 and 1962, were given adequate refuge in over 38 settlements, with all privileges provided to an Indian citizen excluding the right to vote).”
Calling for a democratic consensus and a comprehensive legislation for migrants, Gandhi wrote: “It remains the duty of a state, especially one with a democratic ethos like India’s, to keep its doors open for people in distress. Any refugee, whose grant of asylum has been approved, should be given a formal recognition of his/her asylum status along with an identity document and a travel document.”
“India remains the only significant democracy without legislation specifically for refugees. A well-defined asylum law would establish a formal refuge granting process with suitable exclusions,” he added.
Varun Gandhi called for social sensitisation of the issue by giving suggestions such as local governing bodies corporations to sensitising neighbourhood associations to accept refugees who can pay, along with conducting integration workshops for youth and women empowerment initiatives.
Recently, Gandhi sparked controversy when Naradanews disclosed his links with arms dealer Abhishek Verma. Narada published a series of pictures of Gandhi in an orgy party arranged by Verma.
Verma’s former business partner Edmund Allen wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October alleging the arms dealer “honey trapped and compromised” BJP MP Varun Gandhi into leaking information about defence matters.
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