EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
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VOGUE India

A PLACE OF OUR OWN

Rohingya settlement, Narwal, Jammu
(HASHIM BADANI)

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The refugee crisis isn’t far from home, finds photographer HASHIM BADANI

India has by and large been a country that welcomes refugees fleeing atrocities. However, the Rohingyas escaping from Myanmar to India haven’t had it easy. Stuck in limbo, they wait for the Supreme Court to decide whether they will be deported back in the interest of “national security.”

Last year, during one such hearing, writer Zeenat Nagre and I visited the refugee camps of Narwal in Jammu. Around 6,000 out of the 16,000 Rohingya refugees in India are registered in Jammu. Even as they try and find a new home and place of refuge, the violence of Myanmar will never completely leave them.

In Jammu, most of these men work as daily-wage labourers, digging trenches to lay mobile internet cables. In an ironical twist, the state’s foundation and growth is being laid by the same people they would much rather throw out. As for their children, they face a future where the country of their ancestors refuses to recognise them, and the country they were born in will never accept them.

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