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Following the series of attacks in Paris by the Islamic State on November 13, refugees in Europe are scared of a backlash from citizens and the government alike. A number of conservative groups and right-wing politicians are already tying European immigration policies to the attacks.
But where will these refugees, who are fleeing their war-torn countries, go if Europe locks down its borders? BOOM editor-in-chief Govindraj Ethiraj discusses the Paris attack and the refugee crisis with Ambassador Neelam Deo and Saikat Datta on India HangOut.
Ambassador Neelam Deo says that the Indian government and Indian people have full, unqualified sympathy for the people of France knowing what it is to be attacked in such a way as Mumbai was seven years back. However, the call for a unified action has come every time after such a horrific incident and there have been unfortunately many in the recent path but the countries have not managed to achieve this. Indian cooperation will be useful in breaking down the Paris attack as Mumbai's 26/11 seems to be a template for the 13/11 attacks.
Author and Columnist Saikat Datta analyses that the Mumbai attacks should have acted as a warning to the rest of the world to the evolving strategies of terror organisations. The European Union countries have very good intelligence but are are extremely vulnerable due to the lack of borders. The initial investigation have shown that most of the attackers were french-speaking and were probably from France, hence rather than trying to prevent terror attacks which is an effort like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, the effort needs to be to mitigate it.
Ambassador Deo's take on the refugee situation: For the first time in recent decades, people are moving in such numbers. A large of number of them have simply set out to EU - knowing full well that they may not make it there alive. Germany has already taken and promised to take in close to a 1 million refugees this year. However, France has a big population from its colonised countries - from North Africa that have not been integrated into mainstream French society. There already exists a segment of population that is marginalised. France has also been present in Iraq and Syria, due to the Sykes-Picot agreement but it is involved in the bombings being carried out. So, it has come on the radar of terror organisations. But the recent attacks mean that France will be in the thick of action, people will keep streaming into Europe because Syria has become unlivable. A humanitarian crisis brewing in EU.
Saikat Datta says the marginalisation of non-native populations does not exist only in France. Belgium, which borders France has a city which is a den of refugees. Who are the refugees? They are people running away from similar terror attacks at home. So doors cannot be completely closed. But, the existing situation in the Af-Pak region can be a lesson for EU. The countries need to stop the ghetoisation and marginalisation of refugees. The effort needs to be to prevent radicalisation of youth.
Ambassador Deo underlined the need for a quick solution for Syria as the country has already suffered months of continous bombings. The US has been supplying arms on one side and Russians on the other. The situation is nothing but complete mayhem which is a breeding ground for radicalisation. India needs to push at the UN to tackle terrorism. Push for the good terror-bad terror differentiation to be dropped and be a consistent part of all this international effort.