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Is The Indian Government Planning To Detain Muslims Like China?

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We have a new Hitler in town.

I’m pretty sure when you clicked on the link, although you had some idea about the Muslim detention centres being built in India, you had no idea China was doing the same, right? In that case, let me burst the bubble and tell you that China has been systematically detaining Muslims for well over a decade now. Don’t believe me? Watch Vox’s coverage on the same below.

Now that you know what we are talking about, let me give you some shocking details about the matter. Uighurs are a Muslim minority, who have been living in the North-Western Chinese province of Xinjiang, since before the 1950s. As the Uighurs are quite different culturally, and religiously, from the ethnic Chinese majority of Han Chinese, the Chinese government encouraged Han Chinese to move to Xinjiang to ethnically cleanse the Uighurs, similar to what has been done in Tibet.

After Uighurs protested against these unfair practices of the Han Chinese in 2009, the government changed tactics. The Uighurs started mysteriously disappearing, without any clues, and all investigation activities were strongly suppressed. After continuous efforts by the World Media and independent investigative journalists, it was found out that the Uighurs were being secretly moved to detainment camps in the heart of Xinjiang province. Under the Chinese government’s express directives, as many as one million Chinese Muslims have since been illegally and immorally detained in these ultra-secret internment camps.


2009 Uighur Riots in Xinjiang Province (Source:

When asked about the existence of these internment camps, the Foreign Ministry of China adamantly maintained that there are no such camps, and the media should not fan rumours. However, after several news agencies and internet sleuths threw a massive amount of evidence, including photos of the camps itself at them, the government finally acquiesced, but not without an agenda, that could suit their needs.

Labelling the Uighur Muslims as extremist and terrorist threats, they came up with a defence that the drastic steps were being taken as a means of reform. The Chinese government and its spokespersons, now say that the crackdown on Uighur Muslims and their detainment in so-called ‘De-Extremification Re-education Centers’ is being done to make this extremist population accept and adhere to the ideals of the great Chinese nation. Sound familiar?

The research from World media outlets like Vox and BBC, and the first-hand encounters of the few surviving detainees, however, paints an entirely different picture. According to the detainees, the inhabitants of the camps are forcefully taught about the faith and the work-style of China. They are tortured, exploited, and even electrocuted until they renounce their own faith and accept the Chinese regime. They are made to recite Chinese communist propaganda and sing praise songs for President Xi Jinping.

Hiding knowledge of the outside world from its own citizens and vice versa is not a new thing for the autocratic Chinese government. Banning external websites and any platform that criticizes the government is a daily life practice for Xi Jinping. Recent comments from the Chinese government, include one that says that these detention centres provide free vocational training to the Muslims, so that they can have a better livelihood.

Yup, just like Hitler was giving vocational training to the Jews.

Jokes aside (not really), this comes as no surprise, since the rest of the Chinse population lives under constant censorship and are okay with it. The prevalent opinion among the Chinese citizens regarding this issue, according to Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act, is that as long as they follow the rules, they will have freedom. I agree, but whose rules? What if the government makes up unrealistic regulations that exist only to serve their own agenda?

If you have been following the news and not living under a rock, something similar is underway in India currently. Ever since the CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) has been passed in both houses of the Indian parliament, there has been continuous unrest in the entire country.

As I write this article, many parts of the country, including parts of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, remain devoid of Internet and communication facilities, to suppress revolts against the act. However, the gross resentment and denial have not only been for CAB or CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) alone. In combination with NRC (National Registry of Citizens), CAA becomes a tool that can be utilised to oust Muslim minorities irrevocably from the country. NRC has already been implemented in the state of Assam, and according to resources, thousands of Muslims who could not produce proper residency documents, have been detained by the authorities.

If NRC is implemented in the entire country, what will happen to all the Muslims who are detained as a result is a subject of great debate, a debate that is being continually suppressed by the Indian government.

anti CAA.jpeg
Anti-CAA Protests in India

Let me simplify it. CAA aids non-Muslim minorities who have fled surrounding countries of India for fear of persecution, to get permanent Indian citizenship and asylum. Although the basic idea behind the bill is commendable, the ‘non-Muslim’ part casts a shadow of a doubt, which is solidified by the existence of NRC. Under NRC, a person who fails to prove his residency in India before a certain period with valid documents -not including Aadhar Card or PAN Card- he or she can be detained by the government.

So, the problem lies in the joint implementation of NRC and CAA and not CAA alone. On top of that, the dual stance of the government is not helping to clear any doubts. Although Home Minister Amit Shah, while launching CAA, promised to implement NRC all over India as soon as possible, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his recent address to the nation, denied the existence of Muslim detainment camps in India and any further plans to implement NRC.

However, it has since been established by many news sources, that such detainment camps have not only been already constructed, but many others are being built as we speak. If it is true, our country and the secular ideals on which it sits are in deep trouble. If the internment camps indeed exist, we may end up at best like China and at worst like Syria. None of these comparisons sits well with me, to be honest.

I am not saying that the situation is as deep-rooted as China. But I will say that the BJP government’s predilection for the Hindu vote and the Hindu Rashtra propaganda may very well give birth to a culture of segregating the minorities and creating tension between the many inhabitants of our great nation. India has always been diverse with many cultures, religions, and traditions co-existing and functioning successfully.

Our 5000 years long history has boasted rulers from every walk of life, and still, our civilization has not only have persevered but flourished. The Egyptians perished in front of the Greeks, the Greeks were replaced by the Romans, but the Ancient Vedic culture has survived throughout eras. I hope the values and principles of our great civilization are not decimated for a handful of votes and the greed of some unrelenting politicians.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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