LUCKNOW, India, July 24 (Reuters) – Indian police said they arrested 74 Rohingya refugees on Monday for living “illegally” in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh – a move activists condemned as an arbitrary crackdown on people fleeing violence.
The members of the Muslim Rohingya community were detained in six towns and cities in the state and 10 of the refugees were juveniles, police said, without giving ages.
The Rohingya Human Rights Initiative campaign group said the detained people had been living in the area for about 10 years after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
Many had been doing manual labor including rubbish collection, Initiative director Sabber Kyaw Min said. “They have only been demanding refuge,” he added. “The community is requesting … an end to detentions.”
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar to countries including Bangladesh, which borders India. Myanmar’s military denies committing crimes against humanity.
New Delhi has not signed the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which spells out refugee rights and states’ responsibilities to protect them, nor does it have its own laws protecting refugees.
Around 18,000 Rohingya lived in India as of early last year, according to Rohingya Human Rights Initiative co-founder Ali Johar.
Reporting by Saurabh Sharma in Lucknow and Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by Andrew Heavens
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