Rohingya settlers not refugees, they are 'illegal immigrants'

Posted September 23, 2017

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said Rohingya Muslims were "not refugees" but "illegal immigrants" and can be deported.

Home Minister Kiren Rijiju recently revealed that only 14,000 or so Rohingya Muslims in India were registered with the United Nations refugee agency, and that India was considering deporting the illegal refugees.

Mohammad Salimullah, one of the two Rohingya petitioners, said the authorities in New Delhi had always been helpful so he was hopeful the court would support the refugees. Were we to expel them to Bangladesh from where they came, we will not be endangering this Muslim population which Myanmar identifies as Bengalis, to persecution. The government claimed that the continued illegal immigration of Rohingyas to India has "serious national security ramifications and threats".

Addressing a seminar organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the home minister said, "The Rohingyas are not refugees".

The plea said that India has ratified and is a signatory to various conventions that recognise the Principle of "Non- Refoulement', which prohibits deportation of refugees to a country where they may face threat to their lives".

The Centre has maintained its stand saying that the 40,000 Rohingyas should be deported to Myanmar as they they are illegal immigrants.

Rohingyas are minority Muslims in western Myanmar who have faced persecution in their country and fled to India and Bangladesh.

He was also asked why Myanmar considers them outsiders when generations of Rohingyas have been living in the country.

The next hearing on the issue before the apex court is scheduled for October 3.

Mukesh Mittal, a senior home ministry official, said the Supreme Court must let the government to take a decision in Indian interests because of Rohingya links to extremist groups.

More than 420,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when a coordinated attack by Rohingya insurgents on Myanmar security forces triggered a counteroffensive, killing at least 400 people, mainly militants.

Nobel Prize victor Aung San Sui Kyi, the chancellor and de-facto ruler of Myanmar - once a darling of the global community has got a bad name for the treatment meted out to Rohingyas but the fact of the matter is that she has no control over the military.

"We can confirm that two people were killed by wild elephants", local police chief Abul Khaer told a wire service, adding both the deceased were Rohingya civilians. Our country has taken oral universal declaration (for human rights).

The Home Minister told the seminar that by deporting the Rohingyas, India would not be violating any worldwide law. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar.