Tag Archives: Migrants

The fake pictures of the Rohingya crisis

The plight of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar was thrust into the spotlight last month after thousands of migrants were left stranded at sea – but not all the images being shared online are what they seem to be.

The Rohingyas are a distinct Muslim ethnic group mainly living in Myanmar, also known as Burma. They are not recognised as citizens of Myanmar and face persecution in the majority Buddhist country, where many live in crowded camps. Powerful and seemingly genuine pictures and videos emerged of what Rohingyas must endure in Myanmar after thousands of migrants were left adrift with low supplies of food and water last month. But BBC Trending found some of the images being shared online don’t show Rohingyas at all – but instead come from other disasters and news events.

Many of these images are graphic and disturbing. One of the photos, for instance, that shows up in search results shows Buddhist monks standing among piles of body parts. On Facebook and Twitter, the photograph has been cited as an example of Buddhist violence against Rohingyas. But the picture is not from Burma at all – it was actually taken in the aftermath of an earthquake in China in April 2010.

Another picture shows a man on fire running across the road. One group that shared the photo on Facebook suggesting the man suffered horrific abuse – that he was chopped up and burnt alive. But the real story is much different. In fact, the photo is of Jamphel Yeshi, a Tibetan activist who set himself on fire in Delhi in 2012 to protest against the Chinese president’s visit to India.

There are many disturbing pictures of children circulating as well. One shows a boy tied to a wooden pole, with the marks of beatings visible across his back. While online posts call him a Rohingya boy, he’s actually a seven-year-old Thai child who was beaten up by a relative for stealing sweets earlier this year.

Then there’s this photo which has been widely shared, particularly in India and Pakistan, showing a motorcycle riding across the hands of school students who are lying on the ground with outstretched arms. The incident was actually a stunt by a martial arts trainer in south India:

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32979147

Borderlands – India’s Great Wall

ALL NATIONAL BORDERS ARE IMAGINARY. But some are more imaginary than others. And perhaps some nations are more imaginative too. Somewhere in the labyrinths of the New Delhi bureaucracy, tucked within the recesses of the Ministry of Home Affairs, is a bureau called the Department of Border Management. The DBM, sometimes with just the flourish of an ink pen, conjures the sinuous, unsteady line that separates the triangle of the subcontinent from the mass of Asia. India’s shortest border, according to the department, is its ninety-nine mile border with Afghanistan. This one is especially imaginary, since it’s been in Pakistani hands for the past seventy years. India’s longest border is the 2,545 mile line that encircles Bangladesh. This one is being drawn right now, with steel and electric light.

Travel along the border districts of the east and you will see it unfurling slowly through the simmering green farmlands of Bengal, turning the territory into a map at last. It is an improbable structure: a double fence, eight feet high, consisting of two parallel rows of black columns made of sturdy angle iron and topped with overhanging beams. The two rows of columns are draped in a tapestry of barbed wire, with spools of concertina wire sandwiched between them.
This imposing national installation is still a work in progress. It has been under construction since 1989; 1700 miles have now been erected, at a cost of approximately $600 million. There have been many delays and cost overruns, but when it is complete it will render precisely 2042 miles of the invisible border an impenetrable barrier, a gigantic machine for processing bodies—designed, in the words of the DBM, to prevent “illegal immigration and other anti-national activities from across the border.”

Whether this is an appropriate or proportionate response to India’s perceived problem with its smaller neighbor is less certain. The issue of Bangladeshi migration into India has become part of the background chatter of Indian political discourse in the quarter century since work began on the fence, though in times of political turmoil it has been amplified into obtrusive static. Both the partition of India in 1947 and the 1971 war that led to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan occasioned a massive influx of refugees into India. But migrants of these generations are now generally accepted as naturalized Indians. While the number of subsequent migrants is presumed to be significant, the figures most commonly cited are wildly divergent and unverifiable. In 2000 the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina famously asserted there were no illegal Bangladeshi migrants in India at all, while three years later India’s Intelligence Bureau pegged the figure at 16 million. The Indian press routinely cites more sensational figures, which expand impressively each year. The unlikely sum of 60 million was a popular estimate a couple of years ago.

Just last year, during his election campaign tour of Bengal, Narendra Modi promised to send all illegal migrants “back to Bangladesh”—although, he reassured his audience, those who worshipped the Hindu goddess Durga would be “welcomed as sons of Mother India.” Nobody knows, of course, what proportion of the unknown number of Bangladeshi migrants are Hindu. Like all the other numbers, it is likely to be impressive. But it seems doubtful that the extravagant net that India is casting around Bangladesh will be up to the task of sieving Muslims from Hindus.

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Imran Farooq murder: the bloody past of the MQM

The party of Imran Farooq, who has been assassinated in London, has a dark reputation that it has never left behind

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

It is one of the great enigmas of Pakistani politics. For over 18 years the affairs of Karachi, the country’s largest city and thrumming economic hub, have been run from a shabby office block more than 4,000 miles away in a suburb of north London.

The man at the heart of this unusual situation is Altaf Hussain, a barrel-shaped man with a caterpillar moustache and a vigorous oratorical style who inspires both reverence and fear in the sprawling south Asian city he effectively runs by remote control.

Hussain is the undisputed tsar of the mohajirs, the descendents of Muslim migrants who flooded into Pakistan during the tumult of partition from India in 1947, and who today form Karachi’s largest ethnic group.

A firebrand of student politics, Hussain galvanized the mohajirs into a potent political force in 1984, when he formed the Mohajir Qaumi Movement – now known as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or MQM. The party swept elections in the city in 1987 and 1988 but quickly developed a reputation for violence.

At early rallies Hussain surrounded himself with gunmen and urged supporters to “sell your VCRs and buy kalashnikovs”; violence later erupted between the MQM and ethnic Sindhi rivals and, later, against the army, which deployed troops to Karachi in the early 1990s. …

Read more → guardian.co.uk

The real question

by: Prof. Dr. Gul Agha

… and Americans continue to debate how to handle the challenge of a small percentage of the population who have come illegally, but in Sindh, the real question is whether the migrants will ever consider giving “amnesty” to those Sindhis who have decided to continue to live in Sindh. In Sindh, the migrants have already imposed their language and religion on Sindhis, it seems like they may consider giving amnesty only after Sindhis give up their language and culture entirely!…

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, June 24, 2010

Pakistani Hindu Migrants Prefer To Stay Back India

Jodhpur: “We Hindus in Pakistan are being discriminated against, tortured and harassed,” complains Ram Lal, a 45-year-old migrant from Pakistan, one of the estimated 10,000 migrants from that country settled in and around here in the desert state of Rajisthan. He come to Jodhpur with his family of five over six months ago when, he says, things started to worsen.” I do not want to go back… being a Hindu, there are so many problems for you in Pakistan,” Ram Lal told IANS, adding that only one member of his family, his brother, now lives in Pakistan

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