Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)0 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.0 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.0 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.2.20 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.2.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
In the disputed region of Kashmir, conflict has intensified in 2019 along the Line of Control dividing India administered Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir) and Pakistan administered Kashmir (Azad Kashmir). The desire for autonomy in regions of Kashmir has led to uprisings and independence movements.
On 05 August 2019, the Indian government issued a presidential decree revoking Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special autonomous status, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly seven decades.?The decree was issued hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the disputed region, including the deployment of 10,000 troops to the valley and the establishment of a complete communications blackout that lasted for more than 2 months. As of October 2019, India began re-establishing certain communications networks, such as landlines and mobile phone connections, though internet still remains restricted and insecurity caused by both military forces and militant groups continue to restrict movement and access to education facilities and markets.?
The now revoked special status gave a measure of autonomy to India administered Kashmir. Immediately following the decree, parts of India-administered Kashmir were placed under lockdown and local politicians reportedly arrested amid growing tensions.?
Both armed attacks and human rights violations have increased in recent years.? Rising tensions and protests amid the arrest of hundreds of people in Jammu and Kashmir and military action in Pakistan and India-administered Kashmir is disrupting civilian life and raising protection concerns for residents of Kashmir valley and Kashmiris across the country. Cross-border fire exchanges and shelling has killed civilians, although there is a lack of available data on the number of people affected. ?
On 13 January, the Supreme Court of India ordered a review of the internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir and gave the government 7 days to justify its continued implementation. On 16 January, the Indian government began restoring internet in the region for providers of ‘essential services’ such as hospitals, banks, and travel-related businesses. A social media ban remains in place. The region has been without internet and mobile services since 05 August 2019. The internet shutdown has impacted livelihoods, education, and healthcare for residents of the Kashmir Valley.?
The Indian state of Assam published the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on 31 August 2019. The exercise began in 2015 and sought to detect illegal migrants. 33 million applications for inclusion were received and 1.9 million were excluded from the final list. Bengali Hindus and Muslims constitute the largest number of exclusions, though more than 100,000 Gorkhas (ethnic Nepalis) were also excluded.?
The government is establishing “foreigners tribunals” to determine the status of those excluded. Individuals will be provided a certificate explaining their exclusion and will have 120 days to appeal.? The government set a deadline of 30 October 2019 for all certificates to be published and sent, after which the 120 day petition period begins. Appeals must demonstrate individual presence in Assam before 24 March 1971. If rejected by the foreigners tribunal, appeals can be made in the higher courts of India.?
According to the Indian government, exclusion has no implication on individual rights. Those not in the final NRC will not be detained and will enjoy all rights until all options for appeal have been exhausted.?
Despite government assurances, the NRC process has exacerbated an increasingly xenophobic climate in Assam and is likely to fuel discrimination during the appeal process. Record keeping in rural India is poor and proof of citizenship is often unavailable or riddled with misspellings, raising fears that many have been wrongly excluded. Women and children are especially likely to face obstacles during the appeal process. Deeply rooted patriarchal structures, such as arranged marriage and non-inheritance of property, have left many women and their children without verifiable documents to prove residency.?
The humanitarian impact of the Assam NRC is uncertain, particularly given the lack of clear policy for addressing rejected appeals. However, authorities have stated that no undocumented individuals will remain in India and the construction of large-scale detention centres is ongoing.?Though specific numbers are difficult to speculate, these measures increase the risk that as many as 1.9 million people could become stateless, detained, or displaced.
Unless those excluded hold a second nationality – unlikely given that the majority are from impoverished minorities – a loss of Indian citizenship would render them stateless. The Assam NRC is attempting to detect and deport those it considers to be illegal Bangladeshi migrants; this is problematic, given Bangladesh considers those excluded from the NRC to be irregular migrants rather than Bangladeshi citizens. India has no agreement with Bangladesh on the return of irregular migrants and the Indian government has not held discussions with Dhaka on the question of deportation.?
The limitations on India for deporting individuals to Bangladesh suggests the more critical concern is large-scale detention and deprivation of basic rights and access to public services. Prior to publication of the list on 31 August, there were already plans for the construction of 10 detention centres. Completion of the first is expected by December 2019, with capacity for 3,000 people.?
Additionally, widespread rejection of appeals or a formal decision to detain or expel excluded individuals could trigger mass displacement, internally to other parts of India or into neighbouring countries. The neighbouring states of Manipur and Mizoram have already passed restrictions on the settlement of non-residents in anticipation of an exodus of people from Assam.?
India is one of the most-disaster prone countries in terms of number of disasters, people affected, and related mortality and economic damages.? Droughts, cyclones and floods often destroy or damage shelter, infrastructure and livelihoods and have a long-lasting impact on affected populations. In August 2018, heavy rainfall temporarily displaced over 1.4 million people in Kerala.? In October 2018 tropical cyclone Titli damaged some 29,000 houses in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha state.? At the same time, several states in peninsular and north-east India are currently experiencing a mild to severe drought due to a underperforming monsoon season in 2018.?
INFORM measures India’s risk of humanitarian crisis and risk to be relatively high at 5.5/10 and risk for hazard and exposure at 7/10.?
WASH: The main source of drinking water in rural India are tube-well and boreholes. Despite large-scale efforts to increase access to sanitation facilities, the practice of open defecation persists in rural India, increasing the health and protection risks, particularly for women.?
Health: India accounts for more than one quarter of the global Tuberculosis burden and more than one third of the world’s malnourished children can be found in the country. ?
Food: 190,000,000 people are food insecure. Natural disasters like flooding can have a long-term negative impact on agriculture and rural livelihoods.?
Information Gaps and Needs
There is no crisis severity score for the Kashmir conflict due to the lack of available data.
Information regarding humanitarian needs in Kashmir are severely restricted, especially since the crackdown in August began. Access to the region is limited and communications networks are frequently disrupted or shut down.
National Register of Citizens (NRC)
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is maintained by the Indian government and contains personal and immigration information for all Indian citizens. Assam is the first state in India to update the NRC since it was created in 1951. The exercise began in 2015 and the final list was published on 31 August 2019. Approximately 33 million applications for inclusion were received and 1.9 million were excluded from the final NRC after their applications were rejected.
The government is providing “foreigners tribunals” to provide people with a certificate explaining their exclusion from the final NRC and also for appeals to be processed. Appeals must provide evidence of individual or family presence in Assam prior to March 1971. As of 30 November, 131,000 cases have been contested with the tribunals. It is not clear if this is due to lack of access to tribunals, delays in receiving notice of exclusion, or a shortage of tribunal staff, but the government has announced 221 more members are being appointed to tribunals across Assam.
In December 2019, the State Government in Assam stated that it “cannot accept the Assam NRC” due to irregularities uncovered in the NRC process that occurred over the last 3 years. The Assam government has reportedly asked the national government to disregard the results of the NRC in its current form. The Home Minister of the BJP also announced in mid-November that the NRC will be carried out across the entire country and set a deadline of 2024 for the exercise to be completed. This would also include redoing the Assam NRC so that the process is uniform across the country. A press statement from the Congress has condemned this statement, saying that the Assam NRC would not be rejected and the NRC would not be implemented nationwide. ?
Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) Protests
Protests have erupted in India, particularly in the northeast, following the Indian Parliament’s passage of a controversial citizenship bill in December 2019. The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) seeks to provide a pathway to citizenship for those from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities who fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. India’s Muslim community claims the law violates India’s constitutional guarantee of legal equality by excluding Muslim refugees. The Indian government states that the purpose of the law is to provide opportunity for persecuted minorities in the above countries.
Protests have occurred in atleast 17 cities, resulting in violent confrontations between protestors and police forces. Six people have been killed and more than 100 injured when police forces stormed the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) campus in New Delhi to break up student protests. Since 01 January, protests have continued with as many as 200,000 protestors marching in Kerala state on News Years Day.?