Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2015 > Forsaken at Home : Repertoire of Displacement

Mainstream, VOL LIII, No 15, April 4, 2015

Forsaken at Home : Repertoire of Displacement

Sunday 5 April 2015

by Shubhra Seth

The feeling of returning home gives a sense of respite and belonging to many. But how does one feel when the home does not give a sense of belonging and it is just a mere lifeless structure that one returns to every day, for the simple reason that, what was once upon a time their home, today no longer welcomes them? The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) live with this dilemma every day. Living in relief colonies or camps, their condition is similar to that of refugees as they are forced to leave their homes which results in severed ties with the community, families often get disintegrated, they face unemployment and have limited or no access to land, housing, food and education. This article, presented in two sections, is an attempt to understand the meaning and types of displacement, highlights conflict induced displacement, connecting it with examples of communal violence in India and subsequent displacement that followed.

The Internally Displaced Persons are defined as:

Persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid the effects of, armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disaster, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised State border.1

The visible and acknowledged mark of separation which differentiates an internally displaced person from a refugee is the internationally recognised State border. Faced with situations varying from armed conflicts, internal strife, continuous and systematic violation of human rights, those who flee and seek asylum in countries other than that of their origin are recognised as refugees and the ones who continue to stay within the border of their own countries seeking protection and support from their own government join the category of internally displaced persons.

Understanding Displacement

The Guiding Principles spell out the definition of situations leading to displacement. These are armed conflict, episodes of generalised violence, violations of human rights, or natural and man-made disasters. Displacement can be studied through different lens rather can be classified in different types with reference to the trigger-points or what causes displacement. Principle 6 of the given 30 Guiding Principles enumerates the following:

1. Every human being shall have the right to be protected against being arbitrarily displaced from his or her home or place of habitual residence.

2. The prohibition of arbitrary displacement includes displacement:

(a) When it is based on policies of apartheid, “ethnic cleansing” or similar practices aimed at/or resulting in altering the ethnic, religious or racial composition of the affected population;

(b) In situations of armed conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand;

(c) In cases of large-scale development projects, which are not justified by compelling and overriding public interests;

(d) In cases of disasters, unless the safety and health of those affected requires their evacuation; and

(e) When it is used as a collective punishment.2

Disaster-induced displacement, development-induced displacement and conflict-induceddisplacement are the three nodes as reflected in the above-mentioned Principle. These are mostly studied and discussed amongst the literature on the study of internal displacement as a concept. A brief outline of the three shall elucidate the characteristic features of each of the above mentioned classifications.

Disaster-induced Displacement

The United Nations has defined disaster as “a serious disruption of the functioning of a society, causing widespread human, material, or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources.”3

Disaster is mostly classified into two types, natural and man-made. Natural disasters can further be studied under three sub categories, namely: sudden impact, slow-onset and epidemic disasters. While man-made disasters include the categories of industrial/technological disasters and complex emergencies.

a) Sudden impact disasters include earth-quakes, floods, tidal waves, tropical storms, volcanic eruptions and landslides. Floods are associated with sudden migration of large population while earthquakes take a heavy toll on human life and may cause overwhelming infrastructural damage.

b) Slow-onset disasters include droughts, famine, environmental degradation, defores-tation or conversion of arable land to deserts. These disasters are a result of adverse weather conditions along with poor land use.

c) Epidemic disasters triggered by diseases like cholera, measles, respiratory infection, malaria and increasing cases of HIV in recent times though generally do not cause large scale displacement but threaten displaced populations who stay clustered in overcrowded and unsanitary condition following a major disaster.

d) Industrial/technological disasters result from the society’s industrial and technological activities that lead to pollution, spillage of hazardous materials, explosions and fires. They may occur from poor planning and construction of facilities or from neglect of safety procedures.

e) Complex emergencies are usually human-made with multiple contributing factors ( which may include war and even natural disaster). Such emergencies are marked by large-scale displacement, food insecurity, human rights violations and elevated mortality.4

Development-induced Displacement

All variants of forced displacement are prone to major socio-economic problems and risks. Development-induced displacement was thoroughly and in detail researched for over two decades by Michael M. Cernea5 who noted that when forcibly ousted from one’s habitat, the displaced persons carry the risk of being impoverished than they were before being displaced. Eight variables or common characte-ristics identified in the Model of Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction (IRR Model) by him enumerate the different risks that await the internally displaced persons. These risks can also be seen as different components or variables to deconstruct displacement and understand the intensity of complications that surround this category of IDPs.

This Model of Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction is synchronic or an amalgamation of several interlinked applications, as it captures the processes that are parallel and simultaneously reflect the movement in time from destitution in displacement to recovery in resettlement. At the core of this model are three primary concepts of risk, impoverishment and reconstruction. M. Cernia uses the sociological concept of risk to indicate the possibility that a certain course of action will trigger future injurious effects—like losses and destruction as discussed by Anthony Giddens. (The Consequences of Modernity, 1990) And according to Niklas Luhman (Risk: A Sociological Theory, New York, 1993) where risk is posited as a counter-concept to security. This also exposes the vulnerability of the internally displaced persons particularly when faced with conflict induced displacement.

“Forced population displacement is always crisis-prone, even when necessary as part of broad and beneficial development programs. It is a profound socio economic and cultural disruption for those affected.”6 This type of dislocation ruptures the living patterns and social continuity. It dismantles and disrupts the existing modes of production, social networks, causing impoverishment of those who have been uprooted and threatens their cultural identity.

In the decade of the 1950s and 1960s, with the newly independent states emerging in all continents across the globe the dominant view in development was informed by the modernisation theory. This theory, if put crudely, saw develop-ment as transforming traditional, simple, Third World societies into modern, complex, Westernised ones. Thus capital-intensive, large-scale develop-ment projects were steps taken towards better future. And if people were uprooted along the way in this process of development it was deemed as a necessary evil or even an actual good, since it made them more susceptible to change.7

However, in the recent decades, a “new development paradigm” has been articulated which aims to reduce poverty, promotes environmental protection, social justice and human rights. Within this new paradigm, development has been seen both as accruing benefits and imposing costs at the same time. Amongst its greatest costs has been the involuntary displacement of millions of vulnerable people.8 M. Cernea notes that before displacement actually begins, these eight components are only impending social and economic risks. But if timely and effective counteraction is not initiated when faced with the crisis of displacement in the state, these potential hazards convert into actual impoverishment disasters. The eight components deconstructing the syncretic process of displacement and showing a general risk pattern for the displaced are as listed below. Though the eight points are discussed under the sub-heading Development-induced Displacement, the variables and interlinked risks are common in situations of Conflict-induced Displacement as well.

(i) Landlessness: Expropriation of land removes the productive system, commercial activities and basis of constructing livelihoods. It is one of the principal forms of de-capitalisation as the displaced lose both natural and man-made capital. According to the IRR Model, unless these productive systems are created elsewhere or replaced with alternative steady income generating employment, the affected families remain impoverished and gradually over the years landlessness sets in, making it increasingly difficult to break this mould of impoverishment.

(ii) Joblessness: The risk of losing employment is very high for urban and rural displacement both. Since creating new jobs requires substantial investment, unemployment or underemployment among resettlers often endures long even after physical relocation has been completed. The previously employed may lose in three ways: In urban areas; workers lose jobs in industry and services, in rural areas; landless labourers lose access to work on land owned by others and also lose the use of assets under common property regimes. Self-employed small producers like craftsmen, shopkeepers and others-lose their small scale business.

(iii) Homelessness: Loss of shelter is intrinsic in the definition of the displaced. Most often shelters or relief homes are provided sooner or later thus making it a temporary problem. However, the continuing situation of worse-ning housing standards and the feeling of homelessness due to the loss of original habitat remains a crisis for the displaced. Also as M. Cernea opines, in a broader cultural sense, loss of the family’s individual home and the loss of a group’s cultural space results in alienation and status deprivation.

(iv) Marginalisation: It is the feeling of being neglected or sidelined over a time or suddenly which is seen prominently in cases of conflict- induced displacement too. Marginalisation occurs when the cultural status of the displaced persons is belittled in the relocation areas where they are regarded as “strangers” and denied entitlements and opportunities. Marginalisation occurs as the affected families suffer economically and spiral on a “downward mobility” path. The middle-income farm households become small landholders, small shopkeepers and craftsmen downsize and slip below poverty levels. Many displaced persons cannot use their earlier acquired skills at the new location thus human capital is rendered inactive or obsolete. Economic marginalisation is often accompanied by social and psychological marginalisation, as the social status drops for the affected families, loss of confidence in themselves and society, a feeling of injustice and deepened vulnerability surrounds them. The IRR Model sharply points out that, the coerciveness of displacement and the victimi-sation of the resettlers tend to depreciate resettlers self image and they are often perceived by the host communities as a socially degrading stigma. The facets of marginalisation are multiple yet the corrective measures are few and far for the internally displaced persons.

(v) Food Security: Food insecurity and undernourishment are both results of forced uprooting. It increases the risk of people falling into temporary or chronic undernourishment. During relocation or resettlement, the availability of food crops drops and sources of income generation diminish. Rebuilding regular food production capacity or sufficient means of economic resource generation take years for the affected families in most cases, so hunger and under-nourishment tend to become lingering long term effects.

(vi) Increased Morbidity and Mortality: Displacement-induced social stress and trauma have sometimes been found to be accompanied by outbreak of “relocation related diseases or illness”. Also unsafe water supply and improvised sewage systems increase vulnera-bility to epidemics and its outbreak. Infants, children and elderly are the worst affected in such situations.

(vii) Loss of access to common property resources: Loss of access to common property assets particularly for the poor landless people is a major blow when displacement happens. Loss of access to common property assets like pastures, forested land, burial grounds etc. by the affected families leads to significant deterioration in the income and livelihood sources. Most of these common property assets are seldom compensated by the governments.

(viii) Social disarticulation: Dismantled social networks, dilution of common interests for people to be mobilised around or severing prior ties with neighbours. In other words, displacement manifests through social disarticulation within the kinship system, where intimate bonds weaken giving way to growing alienation and lower cohesion among the family structures. Forced displacement tears apart the decades old existing social fabric, it fragments the community, scatters kinship groups, local voluntary associations and self-organised mutual service patterns are hampered, all of this put together has long term consequences as this adds up to loss of “social capital” and this loss cannot be covered by government documents and policies as they foster over years of cohabiting in a particular neighbourhood and cements with time.9

Most recently two more risks intrinsic to development-induced displacement have been added by W. Courtland Robinson in his paper on ‘Risks and Rights: The Causes, Consequences, and Challenges of Development-induced Displacement’. These are borrowed from the works of Robert Muggah and Theodore Downing10 and highlight the pertinent risks of:

(ix) Loss of Access to the Community Services: Health care facilities and education opportunities for the children are most costly impoverishment risks in the situation of displacement because delayed opportunity for education of children impacts an entire generation waiting to build and carve their future.

(x) Violation of Human Rights: Displacement from their habitual residence, followed by loss of property and absence of fair compensation, together constitute human rights violation. W.C. Robinson adds that in addition to this, arbitrary displacement can lead to violation of civil and political rights which may include degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest, temporary and permanent disenfranchisement and the loss of one’s political voice. Displacement not only carries the risk of human rights violations at the hands of the state authorities and the security forces but also increases the risk of outbreak of violence when new settlers move in amongst the existing populations.

The above discussed variables, together put forward a valuable tool for understanding and assessing many risks inherent not only in situations of development-induced displacement but also conflict-induced displacement. Though the normative bedrock of development-induced displacement rests on a given “eminent domain” of the state, which consists of the state’s right to expropriate property in certain circumstances, mostly citing the overall advantage of the nation as the rallying point.11 Most of the variables are found in similar measures and pattern posing similar risks for those displaced due to conflict.

Conflict-Induced Displacement

Disaster-induced displacement and conflict- induced displacement are located on two sides or extremes of the spectrum of displacement particularly when examined against the response from the state. In the context of disaster-induced displacement, states are keenly interested in seeking outside aid and attention for victims of floods, famine or earthquake. However, at the opposite end is conflict-induced displacement, when such episodes of displacement take place where people are forced to flee, the states tend to be restrictive and highly selective—about who is to gain access to which displaced populations and for what purpose.12 In this spectrum then, development-induced displacement occupies a middle ground where states encourage and accept international assistance and funding but seldom make efforts or give details of arbitrary treatment, impoverishment or denial of rights of those displaced due to reasons of conflict and internal strife.

The archetypical example of forced migration is that of the refugee. The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) defines that a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”13 This definition of the refugees and asylum seekers guides the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Conflict-induced displacement also has similar ‘push factors’ as enumerated in the above mentioned definition for the refugees, the major point of difference being the internally displaced persons continue to stay within the confines of their countries while the refugees cross internationally recognised borders to seek protection in such situations. Displacement occurs where coercion is employed, choices are restricted and the affected population faces more risks than opportunities and are vulnerable by staying in their place of residence. Thus displacement by its very definition is forced and involuntary involving some form of de-territorialisation.14

Though the policies designed and formulated for the IDPs are distinct from those designed for refugees, yet as Walter Kalin (Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons from 2004-2010) pointed out, it should be noted that the discourse on internal displacement and resettlement draws heavily from the instruments for refugee protection and related works. The movements due to conflict-induced displacement are spontaneous, unpredictable and illegal under the international humanitarian and human rights laws. Resettlement, after such episodes of displacement are usually uncoordinated rising from the need of the hour and is regarded by many donors and policy makers as temporary.

As a contrast to this, development-induced displacement comes to be viewed as planned, in some cases procedures of resettlement and compensation details are given, assets required to be expropriated are established by law and obligations on part of the acquiring agency are well pronounced. In such situations, resettlement is perceived by donors and policy makers to a be process leading to a permanent relocation.15

Conflict-induced displacement has long term and lasting consequences as continued social and economic exclusion intensifies the deprivation of such internally displaced persons. Forced displacement heightens social exclusion of certain groups of people as it results in not only physical exclusion from a geographical territory but also economic and social exclusion out of a set of functioning social networks. This is more prominent for the conflict-induced internally displaced persons. Omprakash Mishra observes that the breakdown of some multinational states, proliferation of conflict involving ‘ethnic cleansing’, civil war, insurgency, guerrilla warfare, primarily within borders of the state but having international ramifications were the pertinent features of the post-Cold War world. “This has changed the very nature of conflict-from conventional wars between nation states to inter-communal conflict within states”.16 This change in the nature of conflict is thus seen as a major catalyst leading to a new classification of domestic refugees who in the decades following the Cold War swelled in numbers and surpassed the count of refugees, it is this category which was largely displaced by conflict and came to be internationally covered under the term Internally Displaced Persons.

Also since much of the work on Internally Displaced Persons has stemmed from the field of refugee studies,


remains an essential variable to read displacement, whether in ethnic strife, armed conflict, situations of generalised violence or violation of human rights. Landlessness, joblessness, marginalisation, homelessness, undernourishment, trauma, social disarticulation all the variables discussed in the section above while understanding development-induced displacement can be found and read in context of conflict-induced displacement with similar gravity.

According to a news article featured in The Times of India on August 28, 2012, “India ranks 11th in ‘domestic refugees’ list”.17 The article talks about ‘Internally Displaced People’ who are forced to relocate in conflict-induced situations and particularly mentions religious, ethnic or other persecutions. It further says that India and Turkey are the only ‘stable’ countries in the given list of 12 nations (the other countries in the list are Colombia, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Congo-DR, Somalia, Nigeria, Algeria, Zimbabwe and Pakistan) which have witnessed forced migration in lakhs or more. This information was taken from the IDP database of Norwegian Refugee Council’s Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

The database was created at the request of the United Nations and IDMC remains the only provider or enumerator of global IDP figures.

The IDMC Report on India dated September 201018 gives a conservative estimate of at least 6,50,000 people displaced by conflict in India. According to this country report by IDMC, the affected states with IDPs due to conflict are regionally scattered, in central India (Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal), North-East India (Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur), Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa and Gujarat. It also states that the Government of India neither has a national policy to respond to internal displacement caused by armed conflict and ethnic or communal violence nor is there any central government agency responsible for monitoring the numbers of people displaced and returning. Since the responsibility for protecting, rehabilitating and providing assistance to the internally displaced is relegated to the state governments and the district authorities, wide discrepancies have been observed in the responses and systematic efforts of one state government from the other in varied situations of conflict-induced displacement.

Francis Deng, the Representative of the Secretary General on Internally Displaced Persons (1992-2004), along with his team, developed a comprehensive global programme and approach for understanding the presence of Internally Displaced Persons whose position was different from that of refugees. In the

twelve years

mandate granted to him by the United Nations, Francis Deng presented the Guiding Principles on the Internally Displaced Persons in 1998, expanded the Project on Internal Displacement working towards effective assistance and protection of the IDPs that has continued since then in the global community.

Amongst the above mentioned affected States in the IDMC country report on India, the people displaced in the year 2002 due to communal violence complete a time span of twelve years in the relief colonies and continue to stay as ‘domestic refugees’ within the State of Gujarat. The IDMC report points that most of the conflict-induced displacement is due to armed conflict and ethnic or communal violence.

Briefly pausing here to understand ethnic conflict with reference to India. Donald L. Horowitz in his work on ethnic groups, makes the case that the conventional understanding of ethnicity as connected only to language or race is narrow. Ethnic identity is established at birth for most group members, though the extent to which this is so varies. Some notions of ascriptions, however diluted, and affinity deriving from it are inseparable from the concept of ethnicity. Ethnicity, as Horowitz says, embraces groups differentiated by colour, language and religion, it covers “tribes”, “races”, “nationalities” and castes.19 He argues that ascription—connection to birth—is the primary, even if not the only criterion. If understood in this way then; caste, religion, tribe, race and language are different forms of ethnicity. Ethnicity as viewed by Horowitz and many others is then an umbrella term which covers the above mentioned ascriptions connected to birth, singularly or in combination. Hindus and Muslims can thus be seen as two ethnic groups in India and outbreak of violence between these two groups can be seen as ethnic or communal violence.

The Gujarat carnage in 2002, much reported and written about, displaced more than two lakh people for the first two years, but even after a decade, as many as 16,087 persons continue to stay in 83 relief colonies spread across eight districts of Gujarat. A survey conducted in each of these eight districts (Ahmedabad, Anand, Bharuch, Kheda, Mehsana, Panchmahal, Sabarkantha and Vadodara) by Janvikas20 brought forward a battalion of problems that each of the districts similarly echoed and were left to combat with little or negligible help from the State Government. In the conclusion of a detailed and very informative study conducted by Janvikas on the existing IDP colonies, a number of grievances reflect the variables discussed in the IRR Model enumerating the risks entailed in situations of development-induced displacement. The pertinent problems as given in the survey report are of non availability of potable water in several colonies, quality of grains given out through the Public Distribution System is not satisfactory, government schools are inaccessible in several colonies as they are at a distance of more than three kms from the location of the colonies, also lack of sanitation facilities and limited or no access to medical care and public health services.

Most importantly, the report points out through a detailed analysis of income generated by the working members of the internally displaced families settled in relief colonies that their present earnings are much less than what they used to earn prior to their displacement following the violence of 2002. This sharply contradicts the position taken by the State Government which has time and again reiterated that these families are staying out of their own volition in the relief colonies and have not returned to their native places for reasons of economic benefits accrued in the changed or new locations.21

The term ‘homeless at home’ or ‘uprooted’ has often been used to define the Internally Displaced Persons in reports and news articles, the emphasis is on the loss of home here. Almost all the 83 colonies have equivocally complained that in matters of rehabilitation and resettlement to their original places of residence prior to 2002, transfer-of-ownership processes, adequate compensation for the loss incurred and in recovery of their property the state government has been less forthcoming and leaves much to be done. It is important to note that this survey was conducted in the relief colonies after a decade of the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. This time period also included the visit to relief colonies in four districts by the team from the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in the presence of State Government officials in the month of August 2006. The Commission made recommendations emphasising on providing basic amenities and pointing out that the state government should prepare a special economic package for those displaced by the violence with a special focus on livelihood issues.22 However even till recently, the State Government was still found wanting in its efforts to reintegrate, resettle and rehabilitate the IDPs back into the folds of the society.

The Guiding Principles on Internal Displace-ment, particularly Principle 18 and Principle 22, deserve special mention here:

Principle 18

1. All internally displaced persons have the right to an adequate standard of living.

2. At the minimum, regardless of the circumstances, and without discrimination, competent authorities shall provide internally displaced persons with and ensure safe access to:

(a) essential food and potable water;

(b) basic shelter and housing;

(c) appropriate clothing; and

(d) essential medical services and sanitation.

3. Special efforts should be made to ensure the full participation of women in the planning and distribution of these basic supplies.

Principle 22

1. Internally displaced persons, whether or not they are living in camps, shall not be discriminated against as a result of their displacement in the enjoyment of the following rights:

(a) the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, opinion and expression;

(b) the right to seek freely opportunities for employment and to participate in economic activities;

(c) the right to associate freely and participate equally in community affairs;

(d) the right to vote and to participate in governmental and public affairs, including the right to have access to the means necessary to exercise this right; and

(e) the right to communicate in a language they understand.

 Both Principle 18 and Principle 22, enumerate the rights of the IDPs, some of these are given already in Part III of the Constitution of India. Since the major line of difference between refugees and Internally Displaced Persons is about being outside the border of their State (country) and being within the State respectively, thus IDPs continue to remain citizens of the their country and thereby covered under the rights guaranteed by the State. Responsibility to protect and uphold the basic rights of the Internally Displaced Persons rests with the State.

Ethnic violence remains a major factor of conflict-induced displacement in India, amongst them religious violence has continued for the longest time since independence in varying degrees. To borrow Asghar Ali Engineer’s words,

”there has not been a single year in the post-independence period which has been free of communal violence, though the number of incidents may have varied”.

In the year 2002 there were incidents of communal violence in the states of Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the city of Bangalore. He notes that a common underlined finding of the National Human Rights Commission and more than thirty reports prepared on the violence in Gujarat in 2002 was; that it was a one-sided carnage and not a riot in the usual sense.23

Paul Brass makes a distinction between a riot and a pogrom where the first carries the appearance of spontaneous and an intergroup mass action while the latter is deliberately organised involving killing and destruction of property of a targeted group.24 Sixteen of Gujarat’s twentyfour districts were engulfed in the most organised armed mob attacks on Muslims between February 28 and March 2, 2002, when most of the attacks were concentrated.25 If the violence was orchestrated and organised then the subsequent displacement can be said to be deliberate and designed. The continued existence of the 83 relief colonies even after more than a decade since 2002 is a grim remainder of carnage. The internally displaced families living in these colonies seem forsaken, in other words, left behind or abandoned, in their own home state.

The recent Muzaffarnagar riots were like a warning and reminder of displacement due to communal violence. Some excerpts from the observations made by the National Commission for Minorities after their visit to the Muzaffarnagar district on September 19, 2013 to inspect the relief camps and look at the rehabilitation measures are quite revealing. The visit was scheduled after the Commission received a petition from a number of residents of the districts of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli of Uttar Pradesh. The petition stated that over 200 Muslims had been killed in the riots starting from September 5, 2013 and over 20,000 Muslims were reported displaced at that time. The NCM team on its visit stated that there were 41 relief camps across the district of Muzaffarnagar, these camps were predominantly Muslim, with 4700 families consisting of 27,192 persons as on September 19, 2013. They observed that some persons were stated to be returning to their villages, admittedly slowly and the effort of the administration should be to ensure their return and safety too. The Commission also conveyed to the administration that any long lasting displacement could lead to estrangement between communities which would undo the harmony built over centuries.26

To conclude, let us repeat the words of Asghar Ali Engineer that communal upheaval is like a continued sequence of violence in India since independence. Therefore we already have an ethnic repertoire of violence. Charles Tilly sees repertoire as the whole set of means that a group has for making claims of different kinds on different individuals or groups.27 With the repeated practise of displacing a certain section of the population as a result of the communal violence as witnessed in Gujarat post-2002 and feebly reminded in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, India might put forward its own variant manufacturing a repertoire of displacement.

If this practise continues in the coming decades, then, whenever the flood of communal conundrum shall unleash loosening up the secular soil of our country, some sections would be displaced and left behind as alluvial deposits on the riverside of time.

Notes and References

1. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, 11 February 1998, E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2. available at

2. Op. cit. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, p.7

3. UN Disaster Relief Organisation, 1992, An Overview of Disaster Management, New York. In December 1991, UNDRO was incorporated into the newly established Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA), which has since become the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

4. Keith Holtermann, Erik Gaull, and Ray Lucas, 1998, “Disaster Dimension” in Saade Abdallah and Gilbert Burnham (eds) The John Hopkins and Red Cross/Red Crescent Public Health Guide for Emergencies (Baltimore: John Hopkins University) cited in W. Courtland Robinson, “Risks and Rights: The Causes, Consequences, and Challenges of Development-Induced Displacement” [An Occasional paper: The Brookings Institution-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement, Washington DC], May 2003, p. 9

5. Michael M. Cernea is a Research Professor of Anthropology and International Relations at George Washington University. He is a non resident senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings where he works with the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. His current work focuses on internally displaced populations, climate change-caused resettlement, human rights and international development.

6. Michael Cernea, 1995, “Social Integration and Population Displacement.” in International Social Science Journal, 143/1

7. Please see the essay by Eftihia Voutira and Barbara Harrell-Bond, “‘Successful’ Refugee Resettlement: Are Past Experiences Relevant?” in M. Cernea and C. McDowell (eds.), 2000, Risks and Reconstruction: Experiences of Resettlers and Refugees (Washington DC: World Bank).

8. W. Courtland Robinson, “Risks and Rights: The Causes, Consequences, and Challenges of Development-Induced Displacement” [An Occasional paper: The Brookings Institution-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement, Washington DC], May 2003. p. 10

9. Michael M.Cernea, “Impoverishment Risks, Risk Management, and Reconstruction: A Model of Population Displacement and Resettlement”, paper presented at the UN Symposium on Hydropower and Sustainable Development in support of, and as a background to, the Keynote Paper presented by the same author in the set of sessions of the Symposium devoted to the Social Aspects of Hydropower Development [Beijing, October 27-29, 2004], pp.18-26. Full paper available at resettlement_ backgroundpaper.pdf

10. See Robert Muggah, 2000, “Through the Develop-mentalist’s Looking Glass: Conflict-Induced Displacement and Involuntary Resettlement in Colombia”. in Journal of Refugee Studies 13(2): 133-164. Also see Theodore E. Downing, 2002, ‘Avoiding New Poverty: Mining-Induced Displacement and Resettlement’ (International Institute for Environment and Development), p. 3.

11. Robert Muggah, “A Tale of Two Solitudes: Comparing Conflict and Development induced Internal Displacement and Involuntary Resettlement” International Migration, Vol. 41 (5), 2003, p. 8

12. Op.cit. Robinson, p. 27

13. UNHCR website,

14. J. Hyndman, 2000. “Managing displacement: refugees and the politics of humanitarianism”, University of Minnesota, Minnesota

15. Op. cit. Robert Muggah, International Migration, Vol. 41 (5) 2003, pp. 15-16

16. Omprakash Mishra (ed.), Forced Migration in the South Asian Region: Displacement Human Rights and Conflict Resolution, Jadavpur University, Brookings Institution and Manak Publications, Kolkata 2004. p.6

17. The Times of India, “India ranks 11th in ‘domestic refugees’ list” dated August 28, 2012. News article available at

18. IDMC Report on India, September 2010 available at

19. Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, University of California Press, Berkeley 1985. pp. 52-53

20. Gujarat’s Internally Displaced: Ten Years Later. The 2012 Survey of Gujarat’s IDP Colonies- A Report by Janvikas, available at www. Janvikas, started in 1987, is recognised as a National Resource and Support Organisation working for more than two decades on themes of women’s empowerment, gender awareness, ecology and environment, social justice, addressing issues of education and livelihood for children and youth belonging to weaker socio-economic strata, capacity building and support to grassroots organisations and more.

21. Also see The Hindu, “Life miserable in Gujarat relief colonies: court panel“ dated June 5, 2007

22. NCM Report of August 2006 available at http://www. 20Special%20Reports.pdf

23. Asghar Ali Engineer, ‘Communal Riots in 2002’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Jan. 25-31, 2003), pp. 280-282

24. Paul Brass, 2006, ‘On the study of Riots, Pogroms and Genocide’, Three Essays Collective, Delhi. p. 3

25. Concerned Citizens Tribunal—Gujarat 2002. Published by Anil Dharkar for Citizens for Justice and Peace, Mumbai. p. 19

26. NCM Report available at http://www.’s%20visit%20to.pdf

27. Charles Tilly, I986, The Contentious French: Four Centuries of Popular Struggle. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press cited in Sidney Tarrow, “Cycles of Collective Action: Between Moments of Madness and the Repertoire of Contention”, Social Science History, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Summer, 1993), pp. 281-307.

The author is currently pursuing Ph.D in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She can be contacted at e-mail:

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