• Crisis Severity ?
    2.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    3.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    1.4
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
     
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 19,060,000 People affected [?]
  • 1,599,000 People displaced [?]

Overview

09/06/2020

Humanitarian crises in India are often linked to natural disasters and the long-running conflict in the disputed region of Kashmir.

The disputed region of Kashmir has led to uprisings and independence movements for decades, and in 2019 a series of political efforts to strip India-Administered Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir) of its autonomy escalated the conflict and deteriorated the humanitarian situation in the region.?

While information regarding the humanitarian situation in Kashmir is limited and access to the region is highly restricted, conflict along the Line of Control (bordering Pakistan) and militant attacks in the region pose a significant protection risk. Additionally, reports of human rights violations, extreme restrictions on movement and communication, and the forced closure of markets, schools, and transportation networks creates humanitarian needs among the Kashmiri population.?

Cyclone Amphan made landfall on 20 May 2020, bringing torrential rain and winds around 200km/h to seven districts in West Bengal and Odisha. The cyclone caused widespread destruction to homes, crops, and water infrastructure, resulting in significant shelter, WASH, and livelihood needs.?

INFORM measures the risk of a humanitarian crisis in India as high at 5.4/10. The Hazard and Exposure score is particularly high at 7.3/10.?

Latest Developments

09/09/2020

There are no significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team. 

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Risk

Additional government citizenship initiatives fuel intercommunal violence, embolden militancy in Kashmir, and lead to government oppression of Muslim communities, increasing protection concerns, access restrictions, and displacement. Latest update: 25/03/2020

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

Risk Rationale

Recent moves by Prime Minister Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have strained relations and incited new dissent from India’s Muslim population. In August 2019, a presidential decree revoked the autonomy status of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state. A complete lockdown on communications and movement in the region followed. Simultaneously, the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) brought the citizenship status of 1.9 million people, mostly Muslims and minorities, into question, and efforts to establish a nationwide registry have been met with opposition. The situation was further aggravated by the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December, designed to provide a pathway to citizenship for those fleeing religious persecution from certain countries, but did not include Muslims.?

Anti-CAA demonstrations have fuelled violence between Hindu and Muslim communities. As of February 2020, nearly 80 people have died, including 53 in four consecutive days of violence in Delhi, which saw the torching of Muslim shops, homes, and mosques.?

In 2020, Supreme Court rulings eased the internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir and allowed protests to continue. However, legal challenges against the CAA and questions about the NRC remain unanswered. The Supreme Court, rather than rule on the amendment’s constitutionality, has given the government an opportunity to respond to challenges. Statements from BJP leaders have indicated that no decision has been made regarding a nationwide registry, though a push to convene a National Population Register in April 2020 has raised concerns that demographic data will be used to identify non-citizens.?

Any announcement of a nationwide citizenship registry or other moves perceived to alienate Muslims are likely to fuel intercommunal violence and embolden militancy in Kashmir, resulting in a strong response by the Indian government. This is particularly true if the Supreme Court is unwilling to address challenges to the CAA or Indian police do not ensure the safety of all Indian communities and protestors.

Risk Impact

Political unrest will disproportionately affect Muslims in Kashmir, Assam, and Uttar Pradesh, all of which have a history of deep ethnic tensions. Reports indicate that police have been slow to respond to, or even active participants in, violence in Muslim communities. Conflict trends suggest that 100,000 to 250,000 people could be significantly affected, either by displacement, access restrictions, or increased protection risks.?

An increase in intercommunal violence and militancy will likely result in a strong response from Indian forces. Previous human rights violations by the Indian government included mass detention, excessive use of force to suppress dissent, and amplified military presence. Civilian attacks targeting Muslims will likely increase, leading to casualties, property damage, and loss of livelihoods if shops are destroyed.?

Government response to violence will likely include restrictions on communications and/or movement. Kashmir has limited capacity to cope with further restrictions or conflict following the August 2019 lockdown, which strained public services and hindered access to healthcare, education, and livelihoods for 8 million people. Access to healthcare will be strained should road blockades impede access to hospitals. Threats from militants attempting to usurp control, as well as government-imposed restrictions, will likely result in school closures and fear of attending classes.?

Displacement is likely. Conflict forced 170,000 people in India from their homes in 2018, the majority in Kashmir, and ethnic conflict in Assam has previously displaced 150,000 people in a single episode of violence. Conflict displacement in India is often temporary; however, recent intercommunal violence torched homes, creating longer-term displacement.?

Read this risk

Key Priorities

09/06/2020

Livelihoods: Cyclone Amphan has devastated farmland in the Sundurbans, raising concerns of saltwater intrusion and farmland rendered unusable. In Kashmir, movement restrictions have posed a challenge for farmers transporting and selling goods, and resulted in a decline in tourism, which employs 2 million people.?

WASH: The districts of North and South 24 Parganas, as well as the area surrounding Kolkata were severely affected by water shortages following the cyclone. Dozens of water pipelines were damaged, a critical water treatment facility was severely disrupted, and damage to embankments and storm surges has led to saltwater contamination of drinking water sources.?

Protection: Shelling along the Line of Control, clashes between police and militants, protest violence, and human rights violations by police forces and militants all pose a significant protection concern. ?

ASSAM NRC (RISK DECEMBER 2019)

18/12/2019

The August 2019 publication of the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) brought into question the citizenship of 1.9 million people. Six months later, it has evolved into a slow-moving political battle and left Assam’s Muslim communities in citizenship limbo. Rejection certificates, originally meant to be issued around October 2019, have not been sent. Following claims that foreigners were included in the list while many Hindus were excluded, some BJP leaders called for the Assam NRC to be carried out again. Inconsistencies, including discrepancies in the list and the disappearance of data from the cloud service used to store it, has resulted in questions about accuracy and security. As of February 2020, internal checks have begun to determine if ineligible people, such as declared foreigners, have been incorrectly included. Authorities have announced plans to finish the filtering of names, notify the Registrar General of India of the final list, and send rejection certificates by mid-March, after which appeal cases to the foreigners’ tribunals will begin. The NRC process, along with other citizenship initiatives implemented by the Indian government, have sparked violence between Hindu and Muslim communities, which continues to threaten the security of Muslims in Assam and India. Additionally, questions around citizenship status still present a risk of human rights violations, lack of access to public services, and even statelessness.?

Read more in the ACAPS End of Year Report 2019