500 Burmese families live in miserable condition in Jammu
Jammu, Aug 17: At least 500 Burmese families in Jammu are living in a miserable condition for years together.
The families lack basic facilities, making their lives extremely difficult to live. About 500 to 600 families are facing forced exodus since late seventies. They live at different slum colonies of Jammu city.
While men do petty works, woman nourish children amidst inhuman conditions with no provision for sanitation, drainage and lanes, not to talk of safe drinking water and other amenities.
They migrated to India during massive political unrest in late eighties.
Samsul Alam, 50, one of migrated residents of Myanmar—presently residing at Maratha Colony near Railway Station here—said: “Nearly 14 lakh families of Muslim community migrated in 1978 from Myanmar to adjoining countries including Bangladesh and India. We came to India in 1984 and took shelter at New Delhi, Punjab and then in 1998 we shifted to Jammu and since then we are living here.”
He said his family belonged to village Yavag of district Mundu of Myanmar where they had sufficient land to lead a good life.
“After the death of my parents, I am living with my family including two daughters Ayasha and Saniya Akhtar and son Norul Aziz. Most of the families including children rely on rag-picking to earn their livelihood,” he said.
Kamal Hussain, 37, said: “Due to poor economic condition we cannot afford to send our children to school. Our children help us in rag-picking to earn livelihood.” When asked about the lack of amenities in the area, they said the situation becomes grim during rainy season as rain water enters in the houses, forcing them to spent sleepless nights.
He said that a year back they were living near J&K Bank here—few kilometers from railway station. “But the Jammu Development Authority removed our shelters after which we shifted to Marathi colony,” he said.
Hussain said that this place belongs to Railways and they live in a constant fear of being thrown out of the place any time.
“Our patients are denied medical treatment in government hospitals and sometimes the doctors make excuses and delay treatment. But we do not complain to anyone because we are foreigners and illiterate,” he said.
He said there are many other Burmese families living in slums at Kasim Nagar, Narwal, Malik Market, Bawe, Panama Chowk, Chhanni, Nanak Nagar, Bohri and Bari Brahmana and “no help of any kind has been provided to us by the state government so far.”
He said that they are issued electronic identity proof card by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with a validity of 4 years and is renewed before its expiry. “We have to face interview individually to get our card renewed at UNHCR office at New Delhi. This I-card is helpful to us while traveling and ensures our safety. But our basic demand of granting refugee status is still pending for the past three decades”, they said.
The electronic identity card has a description with Reference No., Individual No., Date of Birth, Gender, Date of expiry and Country of Origin which certify that the bearer of the card is an asylum seeker under the mandate of the UNHCR and he/ she should in particular be protected from arbitrary detention or forcible return to his/ her country.
When contacted District Development Commissioner Jammu, Sanjeev Verma said “We have started providing basic facilities to these slum dwellers, water tank has been installed and soon a school and anganwari center will be opened. A regular visit is given by doctors to these slums and we will ensure more facilities to them in future”.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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