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The illegal entry of guns into India

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By Arka Mondal

“The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.”

― Fidel Castro

South East Asia is possibly one of the most volatile global hot-spots after Middle East and Africa. Fundamental extremism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area is making the region more dangerous by the day. One of the major reasons for this is the large scale proliferation and easy availability of small arms and light weapons.

India has witnessed over 150 militant uprisings since its independence in 1947, of which 65 are believed to be still active in one form or the other. Pakistan is still the primary source of India bound small arms. Islamabad regularly uses ISI funded terrorist organizations to destabilize India by smuggling small and light weapons via sea and land routes. Funding for these weapons proliferation can be accredited to money laundering and safe havens abroad organized through ‘hawala’ or ‘hundi’ channels. The transfer of small arms takes place mostly through clandestine routes and the grey market.

The Chinese role in the clandestine industry also cannot be ignored. China made guns and ammunition gained massive popularity among the insurrectionary groups in India’s north eastern region. Competitively low priced, the Chinese weapons are smuggled in through disputed territories of Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese weapons pipeline also permeated into Myanmar’s underground markets along the Thai border. In no time China became the prime official supplier to the rebels in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Chinese continue to supply small arms to Indian insurgent groups in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura through Bangladesh, Myanmar and possibly Nepal, since the Indo-Nepal border is known to be porous.

However, the complexity of small arms proliferation is not merely a security issue, it is also a question of human rights and of development.

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Amnesty International Accuses India Of Disregarding National Law After It Deports A Rohingya Family

Around 18,000 Rohingya in India are registered with the United Nations refugee agency.

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Amnesty, Rohingya
Members of a Muslim Rohingya family sit as they pose for a photograph with Indian and Myanmar security officials before their deportation on India-Myanmar border at Moreh in the northeastern state of Manipur, India, Jan. 3, 2019. VOA

Amnesty International on Monday accused India of disregarding international law after a Rohingya family was deported to Myanmar where the military is accused of genocide against the stateless Muslim minority.

The family of five, who had been in prison in India’s northeastern Assam state since 2013, was handed over to Myanmar authorities on Thursday — the second such deportation in just months after seven men were returned in October.

The United Nations expressed concern over the forcible repatriation of the Rohingya while rights groups warned New Delhi was putting the community at serious risk by returning them to Myanmar, where for decades the minority has been targeted in violent pogroms by security forces.

Rohingya, india
Rohingya women and children are seen at a temporary shelter in the Kalindi Kunj area of New Delhi, India, April 15, 2018. VOA

The Rohingya are despised by many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which refuses to recognize them as citizens and falsely labels them “Bengali” illegal immigrants.

They were concentrated in Rakhine state, the epicentre of a Myanmar army offensive that since August 2017 has driven some 720,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh.

“The Rohingya population in Rakhine state in Myanmar continue to live under a system of apartheid,” Amnesty India’s Abhirr V. P. said in a statement.

“The expulsion of asylum-seekers and refugees amounts to a violation of India’s obligations under customary international law, which prohibits governments from returning people to a territory where they are at risk of serious human rights violations.”

Rohingya, Drinking water, amnesty
Formin Akter applies makeup before heading to Chittagong to attend school at the Asian University for Women in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 24, 2018. VOA

India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention.

Indian officials say around 40,000 Rohingya are living in the country, where Hindu hardliners have called for their mass deportation.

Also Read: Second Group Of Rohingya Muslims Get Deported By India

Around 18,000 Rohingya in India are registered with the United Nations refugee agency.

UNHCR said despite repeated requests they were not granted access to the Rohingya family detained in Assam before their deportation.

India’s home ministry told parliament last week that 478 Rohingya were arrested between 2015 and 2018, with last year topping the list with 230 detentions along the nation’s borders. (VOA)

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