ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Counting Conflict-induced Internally Displaced Persons in India

Armed conflict and communal or ethnic violence have continued to cause massive displacement in India. The country is in need of amending its policies in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles for protecting internally displaced persons. The reliability of the existing data on IDPs and lack of a national governing body for protecting them are problems that need to be addressed.

Displacement due to armed conflict or ethnic violence is rising immensely worldwide. The recent global report on Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC 2016) estimated that an average of 5.2 million people were displaced every year since 2003, that is, 14,000 people forced to flee their homes every day due to armed conflict. Armed conflict and communal or ethnic violence have continued to cause massive displacement in India. Women and children may be particularly vulnerable in complex emergencies in which families are separated and social support systems are destroyed with no proper access to basic services for living.

According to a study by the Centre for Social Justice and ActionAid (2013), many internally displaced persons1 (IDPs) still continue to live in protracted displacement and have failed to return to their place of origin or be resettled. There is a challenge in identifying the total number of IDPs due to armed conflict or ­ethnic and communal violence, as there is no central government agency to monitor the number of people displaced every year. The IDMC (2015a), the international body working on the IDPs ­issue, has estimated that by April 2015 around 6,16,140 people in central India (Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal), northeast India (Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur), Jammu and Kashmir, and Gujarat were displaced due to armed conflict and ethnic or com­munal violence.

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