Bangladesh's Biharis - from refugee camps to voting rights

Audio 02:58
Bihari girls in Bangladesh
Bihari girls in Bangladesh Reuters/Rafiquar Rahman

For 40 years, Urdu-speaking Muslims known as Biharis have been living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. They are descendants of Muslim refugees who fled from eastern India after the partition of 1947, fearing communal riots and some backed Pakistan during the 1971 war that led to Bangladesh becoming an independent state.


The support of some factions for west Pakistan resulting in conflict and forceful deportation of thousands.

Some 300,000 moved into refugee camps where they continue to live.

In 2008 about 150,000 Biharis, who were minors at the time of the independence war of 1971 or born after it, were given citizenship rights.

The Biharis say they have come a long way from filthy tents to voting rights and they are optimistic about the future.

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