Rohingyas illegal immigrants, not refugees: Rajnath

Frederick Owens
September 23, 2017

Earlier, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its affidavit, had termed the Rohingyas as "illegal" immigrants and alleged that some of them were part of a "sinister" design of Pakistan's ISI and terror groups such as the ISIS.

Addressing a seminar organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Singh asked why some people were objecting to the deportation of Rohingyas when Myanmar was ready to accept them. The plea was filed by West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBSCPCR) in the apex court which has already fixed a PIL, filed by two Rohingya Muslim refugees challenging their deportation, for hearing on October 3. There is a procedure to get refugee status and none of them followed this procedure. No Rohingya has applied for asylum. Many Myanmar citizens consider Rohingyas "illegal immigrants" from Bangladesh.

The home minister said India would not be violating any worldwide law if it deports Rohingyas as it is not a signatory to the UN Refugees Convention 1951.

Even as he refused to comment on the Indian government's decision to deport Rohingyas back to Myanmar, Mr. Alam said that they had received "assurances" from India regarding support on the Rohingya issue.

"We have to think about the human rights of our own people before talking about the human rights of people from other countries", he said.

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He said the matter is being heard by the apex court and "whatever decision will be taken, it will be taken by the Supreme Court". "It was carrying the food to Rohingya refugees on the border, including those stranded in the no-man's-land", he said.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has played down claims of atrocities and blamed "a huge iceberg of misinformation" for complicating the conflict. Rights groups have urged India to abide by its worldwide obligations after the government said last month it had asked state authorities to identify and deport the Rohingya living in their terriory.

There were an estimated 1.1 million Rohingyas in Rakhine state before the current crisis, though almost half have fled into Bangladesh where they are cramped into ill-equipped camps. According to the United Nations, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar since a renewed military crackdown began on August 25.

The social network is a key tool in the information war taking place over violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, which has driven more than 4,20,000 Rohingya Muslims from the country and sparked United Nations accusations of military-led "ethnic cleansing".

On September 14, India sent 53 tonnes of relief material to Bangladesh for Rohingyas, who poured into that country following the violence in Myanmar.

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