Czech NRIs to help marginalised ‘Roma’ community

INITIAromansKumar Vishwanathan and a portion of the Indian diaspora in the Czech Republic want to help the ‘Romas’ a marginalised community that is believed to have roots in India. Mr Vishwanathan proposes the initiative by integrating them into the mainstream society in the industrial city of Ostrava.

He said the Romas are a stigmatised and marginalised ethnic minority in Europe and his efforts have resulted in the formation of a housing project now known as ‘Coexistence Village”, where Romas and non-Romas reside along with some poor elderly white families.

Mr Vishwanathan claims the Romas have their roots in India and they often share the features of the subcontinent. After the plight of the Romas caught his attention he left his career as a physics teacher in Olomouc and became a human rights activist. He believes the Romas are probably an ancient Indian diaspora that gradually mixed with other groups.

There are some 20,000 Romas in Ostrava and around 250,000 Roma out of a total 10.3 million Czech population.