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526,000 internally displaced in India: UN-backed report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-05-2014 PTI

United Nations: India at the end of last year had about 526,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), uprooted from their homes due to communal violence and armed conflict, according to a new UN-backed report.

“India continued to experience new and protracted displacement during 2013 as a result of communal violence and armed conflict with a total of at least 526,000 people displaced at the end of 2013,” the report titled Global Overview 2014: People Internally Displaced by Conflict and Violence by Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said.

The report said conditions in displacement camps remain dire across the country. IDPs lack access to clean water, adequate shelter, food security, clothing and health care, it said. Harassment and threats from villagers in IDPs’ home areas often hinder their efforts to return and the police tend to be unwilling to protect returnees.

Support for long-term solutions varied significantly between states in 2013, the report said. “Religious charities, madrassas, civil society groups and local communities took the lead in assisting IDPs during 2013...India’s central government does not consider IDPs’ recovery and rehabilitation as part of its mandate,” the report claimed. “A national policy or law on IDPs is much needed to address their protection and assistance consistently and effectively, and to provide a framework for steps to facilitate durable solutions,” the report said.

The governments of Gujarat, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have made no efforts to assist IDPs, it alleged. The 526,000 IDPs constitute 0.04% of the total population of India.

An estimated 64,000 people were newly displaced in 2013 in India, the report said. The new displacement was mainly triggered by communal violence between Muslims and Hindus in Uttar Pradesh in September which forced around 51,000 people to flee their homes, it said.

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