Displacement and Exile: The State-Refugee Relations in India

Abhijit Dasgupta
Oxford University Press
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"This study highlights some emerging issues in the study of displaced persons in India, like the agency and voices of people who flee across an international border, the identities they forge for themselves, their relations with the hosts and their interactions with the state and non-governmental organizations. Three case studies are examined here: (a). aPartition refugeesa, from East Pakistan to West Bengal, (b). Tamil refugees, from Sri Lanka to India and (c). Bangladesh Liberation War refugees from East Pakistan to West Bengal. The reader will find that each case is in itself highly complex. The treatment meted out to the displaced people in India has not been consistent. This study shows that the responses of the state to cross-border displacement have been varied over time and space. The Indian state has sovereign rights to decide who is to be considered as a refugee, who should receive relief and rehabilitation and who is to be repatriated. In the absence of national laws for the refugees in India, the state is the final arbitrator on all such matters."