The Lulat people of Central Asia are a particularly despised minority group distantly related to the Roma or Gypsies or Europe. They are variously known as Cigänler (in InterTurkic), Juğanlar (in Uygur) and Цигани or Tsigani (in Russian). These are all exonyms, however; they call themselves "Lulat" or "Muğat".
Their culture is extremely closed to non-Lulat, and is hedged about with numerous taboos and practices which set them apart from those they live among. Their religion is secretive; non-Lulat are barred from their rites, and this leads to all manner of speculation, mostly to the effect that evil or unsavoury things are practised.
Lulat traditionally make their livings from crafts, especially jewellery, and also livestock trading and mendicancy.
The area of Lulat habitation includes Turkestan, Uyguristan, parts of northern Persia and the MNR. The Lulat are discriminated against to varying degrees in all of their settlement area. Lulat civil rights campaigners in these countries are working to improve their conditions, but most of these campaigners are non-Lulat, and tend to be either sidelined or ignored by most of the Lulat themselves.
The Lulat in Turkestan
In Turkestan, the official position is that the Lulat are full citizens with equal rights. However, unofficially, there is considerable discrimination against them, and obstructionism by government officials is the norm rather than the exception.
The Lulat in Uyguristan
The Lulat of Uyguristan are not considered full citizens. They are often restricted in their movements and living arrangements, being in a situation analogous to the Jews in Renaissance Europe. Lulat ghettoes exist in most of the larger cities; however, within these ghetto areas, the Lulat basically rule themselves.