India is currently building at least ten detention camps for some 1.9 million Assam Muslims that the Delhi administration had left stateless in the aftermath of a new bill adopted by the ruling Bharatiya Jamata Party (BJP), according to a report by The Independent.
According to UN refugee agency, UNHCR, about 12 million people worldwide might be “victims of statelessness” in 2018, as India’s action stripped 1.9 million of their citizenship in a single day.
The camps are reportedly the size of seven soccer fields and can house up to 3,000 people each, with high boundary walls and watchtowers.
The Modi government is being accused of “ethnic cleansing” after it adopted the controversial Citizenship List law.
Neighboring Bangladesh, which has a population of 165 million, has housed the world’s biggest refugee settlement, giving shelter to more than 1 million Myanmar nationals of Rohingya Muslims.
During Bangladesh’s 1971 liberation war, 10 million Hindus and Muslims took shelter in Hindu-majority India -- mostly in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya states -- but almost all returned home after the war.
India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allegedly planned to change the demographic distribution in Assam where one-third of its citizens are Muslims.
Even before publication of the final version of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Aug. 30 that excluded 1.9 million Bangla-speaking residents of the Indian state of Assam, they were being targeted as “illegal Bangladeshis” who authorities claimed came there after March 24, 1971.
Earlier in 2004, Sriprakash Jaiswal, then junior home minister, said that over 12 million illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators were living in different parts of the country. He even said that 5 million were present in Assam alone as of Dec. 31, 2001.
Latest developments have hit the ruling BJP’s important election plank. Initial estimates gathered by volunteers on the ground suggest that out of 1.9 million detected as foreigners, 1.1 million are believed to be Hindus and 800,000 Muslims.
The party is now demanding re-verification of 20% inhabitants living in seven districts of the Brahmaputra valley, Dhubri, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Darrang, Nagaon and Morigaon; and, in two of the three districts of Barak valley, Hailakandiand and Karimganj.