Inside Karnataka’s refugee camps, making of a ‘Hindu rashtra’

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has found a fertile ground for its 'Hindu rashtra project' in people living in government rehabilitation camps for refugees in Karnataka's Sindhanur village. | Illustration - Eunice Dhivya | All photographs by Prabhu Mallikarjunan

Ambareesh Mallick's eyes are red with rage and pain as he recalls how his parents fled religious persecution in Bangladesh and entered India. Yet today, he wants to inflict the same pain on those he believes don't fit into his dream 'Hindu rashtra (nation)'.

Even as protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act rage across India, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has found a fertile ground for its 'Hindu rashtra project' in people like Mallick and others living in government rehabilitation camps in Karnataka's Sindhanur village.

About 400 km from the state capital Bengaluru, there are five government rehabilitation camps in Sindhanur where Hindus from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and repatriated communities of Indian origin from Burma (now Myanmar) have been living for more than four decades.

While the repatriated Burmese of Indian origin are settled in one of the camps (RH-1), the Hindus from Bangladesh — who fled religious persecution — live in rehabilitation camps, RH-2, 3, 4 and 5.

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