National interest warrants that Rohingyas be deported from India; no illegal immigrant has the right to stay in India, the Narendra Modi government told the Supreme Court.
The government today told the Supreme Court it cannot allow Rohingya Muslims to stay in India as refugees since they pose a threat to national security and could be used by domestic and foreign terror groups to create trouble in the country.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the Ministry of Home Affairs has said that intelligence inputs have suggested that Rohingyas are linked with terror groups. The Centre claimed Rohingya militant groups are active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat, and could be used by the Islamic State.
"National interest warrants their deportation. No illegal immigrant has the right to stay in India," the affidavit says.
Earlier this week, the United Nations' top human rights official Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein had criticised India for wanting to deport Rohingya refugees. "I deplore current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country," Zeid said.
Noting India's obligations under international law, he said: "India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations."
But the Indian government has maintained that it sees Rohingyas as a threat to security. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also called them a threat to national security earlier this week. "We cannot rule out the possibility of security threat and I have already cleared our stand with regard to illegal immigrants," he had said.
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear a plea filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, challenging the government's decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants back to Myanmar. The plea, filed by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan on their behalf, claims they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.
Opposing the plea, former RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader KN Govindacharaya has also moved the apex court seeking to make him a party in the case filed by the two Rohingya Muslims. Govindacharya has opposed their plea saying they were "a burden" on the country's resources and posed a serious threat to national security.
Meanwhile, India has also extended humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by flying down food and other essential items to the neighbour to help it deal with the huge influx of Rohingyas who have fled from Myanmar.
The violent attacks allegedly by Myanmarese armymen have led to an exodus of Rohingya tribals from the western Rakhine state in that country to India and Bangladesh. Many of those who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.The relief material will be delivered in multiple consignments under "Operation Insaniyat", with the first tranche to be flown to Chittagong by an Indian Air Force plane later today.
The United Nations estimates that some 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India, and 16,000 among them have received refugee documentation.