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Roma community to officially be a part of Indian diaspora?

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Image source: education4sustainability.org

New Delhi: The 20-million strong Roma community spread across 30 countries as Indian diaspora may soon get India’s official recognition title. This comes as a direct result of the recommendations initiated in a conference by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Antar Rashtriya Sahayod Parishad (ARSP).

After External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated that the people of the Roma community, whose ancestors are believed to have migrated some 1,500 years ago, were children of India, an international conference here ended with a recommendation to recognise them as part of the Indian diaspora.

You are the children of India who migrated and lived in challenging circumstances in foreign lands for centuries. Yet you maintained your Indian identity,” Sushma Swaraj said while inaugurating the three-day International Roma Conference and Cultural Festival 2016 here earlier this month.

“A strong 20-million Roma population is spread over 30 countries encompassing West Asia, Europe, America and Australia,” she said.

Romas are said to be descendants of Dom, Banjara, Gujjar, Sansi, Chauhan, Sikligar, Dhangar and other nomadic groups from northwest India.

According to some scholars, the first migration followed the invasion of Alexander the Great who carried ironsmiths skilled in making weapons in large numbers in the 5th century BC.

An introductory paper released ahead of the conference organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Antar Rashtriya Sahayod Parishad (ARSP) said that many Roma scholars, anthropologists and historians researching their origins have approved their roots in India.

“When the Greek scholar Paspati heard the Roma call the Cross Trushul under the clear sky of Constantinople, he realised it refers to Trishul, the trident of Shiva, the god of cosmic dance. Long last, here was their origin,” ICCR president Lokesh Prasad said in his keynote address at the conference.

“The Roma scholar Dr Vania of Paris called his people ‘Ramno Chave’ or sons of Rama,” he said.

Chandra told reporters that even today these people use words like naak (nose), kaan (ear) and aakh (eyes).

These people are now known variously as “Zigeuner” in Germany, “Tsyiganes” or “Manus” in France, “Tatara” in Sweden, “Gitano” in Spain, and “Tshingan” in Turkey and Greece, “Tsigan” in Russia, Bulgaria and Romania and “Gypsies” in Britain.

However, these people have not been accepted by society in various parts of the world and continue to face persecution of various types. They continue to live on the fringes of urban centres.

“Perhaps the most devastating persecution of the Romani occurred during World War II when they were among the first targets of Nazi atrocities, according to the BBC,” the introductory paper says.

“An estimated two million Romani died in concentration camps and through other means of extermination, even unethical medical experiments.”

According to a paper presented at the conference by Valery Novoselsky, vice president and commissioner of culture of the Serbia-based World Roma Organisation, prominent personalities of the Roma community include Yul Brynner, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Caine and Elvis Presley.

While film and stage actor Brynner, of Russian origin, started his adventurous life playing guitar in Romany circles and working as a trapeze artist in circus, Chaplin was born in a Gypsy caravan in the British West Midlands and not Walworth, London, as was believed, according to Novoselsky.

On actor Michael Caine, he stated: “Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, it was a tradition of his Romanichel family to call the first-born son Maurice.”

Elvis Presley’s ancestors went to the US from Germany in the 18th century and their original surname was Pressler.

“They were part of the Sinti people commonly known as ‘Black Dutch’, also called ‘Chicanere’ and ‘Melungeons,” Novoselsky stated.

“Roma people are an Indian nation, the autochthonous territory of southeastern and western Europe, but also in other parts of the world, with all attributes that make them a special national entity,” Jovan Damjanovic, president of the World Roma Organisation, said at the conclusion of the New Delhi conference.

“We would like to be treated as the Indian diaspora and can make a contribution to our country of origin’s growth,” he added.

So, can the Romas be seen as part of the Indian diaspora?

“The conference was meant to create further awareness globally about the Romas and provide useful pointers towards developing educational and scientific structures and help in finding solutions for challenges being faced by the Roma community across the world,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesman of the external affairs ministry under which the ICCR falls.

“The conference has made certain recommendations to the government. The government is currently in the process of evaluating those recommendations.” (Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS)

Read more: www.newsgram.com/roma-people-and-their-indian-connection/

www.newsgram.com/we-romas-would-like-to-be-treated-as-indian-diaspora/

www.newsgram.com/roaming-their-world-the-roma/

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India-Pakistan Ties: India Grants Medical Visa to another Pakistani National

The action was termed "highly regrettable" by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

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medical visa
Sushma swaraj addressing a press conference. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 10, 2017 : India on Friday issued a medical visa to another Pakistani national following a promise made by the Ministry of External Affairs on Independence Day.

“Amna – We have approved medical visa for your father Mr Shamim Ahmed,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted in response to a request from one Amna Shamim through the Twitter handle of Karachi’s Muhammad Talha.

Shamim also posted a reference letter dated October 9 from a doctor in Sri Ganga Ram Hospital who stated that the patient was being considered for a liver transplant.

On Independence Day, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had announced that India would provide medical visas to all bonafide Pakistani patients.

As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry had announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by then Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz would enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.

The action was termed “highly regrettable” by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

However, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for liver tumour, was given a visa on July 18.

Sushma Swaraj then said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistani government for a medical visa because the territory “is an integral part of India”.

Since August 15, however, Pakistani nationals seeking medical treatment have not been denied visas. (IANS)

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Myanmar Must Take Back Displaced Rohingya Refugees : India

Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state

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A group of Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy road after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. VOA

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India on Sunday said Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh must be taken back by Myanmar from where they have been displaced.

“Normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons to Rakhine state,” Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a media meet also attended by her Bangladeshi counterpart Abula Hassan Mahmood Ali.

This followed the fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee meeting.

ALSO READ US will Provide $32 Million to Rohingyas As Humanitarian Aid Package

Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state, bdnews24.com reported.

She said India was “deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar”.

According to latest figures from the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmar Army cracked down on the Rohingyas after a series of attacks on security personnel in Rakhine.

Bangladesh Minister Ali said India was urged to contribute towards exerting sustained pressure on Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, including return of Rohingyas to their homeland. (IANS)

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India condemns support systems for terrorists in South Asia, expresses concern over North Korea’s nuclear program

Sushma Swaraj’s statement assumes significance as it comes after the unprecedented BRICS Summit joint statement earlier this month in which Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa unequivocally named Pakistan and the terror groups based there

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Sushma Swaraj talks about support systems of terrorists in South Asia
External affairs minister of India, Sushma Swaraj. Wikimedia
  • India on Thursday condemned support systems for terrorists in South Asia while expressing concern over South Asia’s nuclear program
  • Sushma Swaraj’s statement is significant since it comes after the BRICS Summit where many countries unequivocally named Pakistan and the terrorist groups based there
  • Sushma Swaraj also sought cooperation for early conclusion of negotiations and adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism

New York, Sep 22, 2017:  In an obvious reference to Pakistan, India on Thursday condemned support systems for terrorists in South Asia while expressing concern over North Korea’s nuclear and weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

“The horror of terrorism continues to haunt global peace and security. Terror groups draw sustenance from support systems in South Asia,” Sushma Swaraj said while speaking at the BRICS Ministerial Meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly Session here.

“They continue to find support and shelter in countries which use terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

“We must condemn efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries,” she added.

Sushma Swaraj’s statement assumes significance as it comes after the unprecedented BRICS Summit joint statement earlier this month in which Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa unequivocally named Pakistan and the terror groups based there.

“There is need for collective efforts to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement,” she said, calling for terrorist funding, their weapons supply, training and political support to “be systematically cut off”.

Sushma Swaraj also sought cooperation for early conclusion of negotiations and adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN Security Council.

On North Korea’s recent offensive military posturing, she said: “The action and rhetoric of North Korea has been a source of growing global concern.”

Also read: Baloch Activist Bugti hails Sushma Swaraj for her speech against Pakistan Atrocities at UN General Assembly

She also touched on climate change and referred to Indian Prime Minister Narendra’s Modi’s suggestion of an alliance between the India-initiated International Solar Alliance and the New Development Bank, a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS nations.

“I hope we can work together to give this ambitious agenda practical shape in coming months,” she said.

The International Solar Alliance, launched at the UN Conference of Parties (CoP) climate summit in Paris on November 30, 2015, by Prime Minister Modi and then French President Francois Hollande, is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on dealing with the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. (IANS)