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Bharat asked: Will there be any impact of the Rohingya conflict on north-east India?

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  • Namrata Goswami replies: The Rohingya conflict is one of the longest conflicts between the majority Buddhist Burmese and the minority Muslims in Myanmar. It has led to the displacement of large number of people across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, especially from the Rakhine state. The tragic aspect of this issue is that about 800,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar are stateless people. They are not recognised as an ethnic indigenous minority or citizens of Myanmar. Bangladesh, which has a 271 km long border with Myanmar, houses nearly 300,000 Rohingya refugees, especially in Cox Bazar. Many of these refugees are without jobs and could fall prey to radical ideologies. They may join the Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islam (HuJI) which has been accused of carrying out bomb blasts in Assam. Another aspect could be the fear of a major spill over of the conflict into India’s north-east in terms of refugee flow from across the porous Bangladesh-India border. The north-east is a region plagued by armed ethnic conflicts based on issues of land and identity. Further inroads by a refugee population could exacerbate the situation in the north-east.