4.48 Lakh Indians Displaced by Violent Conflict: Norway Report

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: May 27, 2017

Violent clashes displaced 4.48 lakh in India; communal, caste conflicts led to "smaller" displacement: Norway report

 

Estimating that a huge 4.48 lakh people were displaced in India due to internal conflicts and violence in India last year, a new report, jointly prepared by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has said that there are 7.96 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.

The report points out that it was displacement caused by violent secessionist movements has primarily been associated with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland and the Assam movement, as well as the ongoing war between militants and the state in Kashmir”, the report states, “Identity-based autonomy movements have also caused displacement in many parts of India, including the states of Telangana and Assam.”\

The report does not rate communal and caste conflicts to have led to large-scale displacements. It says, “Localised inter-communal violence between Hindus and Muslims, for example in Gujarat, has resulted in smaller-scale displacement, as have caste disputes in states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.”

It is developmental  projects that are the cause of largescale displacement, “as part of India’s rapid development and industrialization”, the report, which is titled “Global Report on Internal Displacement”, says, “The large-scale acquisition of land and the eviction and displacement of tens of millions of people over the past decades, not only for the purpose of building dams, mines and industrial plants, but also for other objectives such as urban renewal and environmental conservation.”

Especially singling out “the most controversial cases is the Sardar Sarovar dam”, the report states, “Approved in 1984, the project had displaced an estimated 350,000 people in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra by 2015.”

 

 
“In addition to the government’s indifference to the adverse impacts of displacement, extreme inequality in land ownership, insufficient implementation of laws and policies to protect indigenous lands, the power imbalance between project implementers and the affected communities, and the government’s severe approach to dissent are some of the key factors that enable and perpetuate displacement in the context of development projects”, the report states.

Pointing out that “there is a strong link between development projects and conflict”, the report says, “Most of India’s land conflicts arise from state takeovers, often on behalf of private investors”, adding, “The adverse social and environmental impacts of development projects implemented through large-scale land acquisitions with minimal (if any) consultation and compensation have fuelled tensions, violence and conflict over land access and use.”

“As a result”, it says, “Non-state armed groups have gained support from some marginalised communities affected by development projects. Meanwhile, despite numerous state-level housing policies and schemes, limited access to adequate housing in urban and rural areas continues to increase people’s vulnerability to displacement associated with natural hazards.”

Estimating that about 70 million people were displaced development projects between 1947 and 2010, and regretting that data on those displaced since 2010 is not available, the report underlines, only about “a third of the displaced people have been resettled in a planned manner, but their locations are unknown and their resettlement is not a durable solution.”

As for the reminder, the report says, they have “to fend for themselves”, adding, “Many of those who were not settled elsewhere ended up living in informal settlements surrounding New Delhi, Kolkata and other cities, or moving in with nearby relatives, and some have returned in cases where projects have not materialised. Compensation has been paid in cash or land in some cases, but it has often been insufficient for people to restart their lives.”