Published: Wed, September 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Rohingyas are a 'security threat'

Rohingyas are a 'security threat'

Moreover, since there was a "serious national security threat/concern", the government should be allowed to exercise its essential executive function by way of a policy decision to deport the Rohingyas in the larger interest of the nation, the affidavit said. "In addition, some of the illegal migrants are suspected to having links with ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and ISIS operatives and members of extremists groups targeting India", a home ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

Reacting to the Centre's affidavit in the apex court that the issue of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar posed serious threat to national security, the Hyderabad MP said it was propaganda by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

The government also claimed that there is an "organised network of touts operating in Myanmar and West Bengal and Tripura to facilitate the influx of illegal Rohingya" refugees into India. It dealt with the provisions of 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and said these were not applicable as India was not a signatory to either of them.

The decision to deport 40,000 Rohingya Muslims, who are illegal immigrants from Myanmar, has been taken keeping in mind national security threats, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday through an affidavit.

The affidavit has also alleged that some Rohingyas were indulging in illegal/anti-national activities - that is, mobilisation of funds through hundi/hawala channels, procuring fake Indian identities for other Rohingyas and also indulging in human trafficking.

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The top court will hear the matter again on October 3.

The apex court is hearing an appeal lodged on behalf of Rohingya against the deportation plan proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government. "No illegal immigrant can pray for a writ of this Court which directly or indirectly confer the fundamental rights in general.", the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

It asserted that the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees can not invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right. Since it was a very sensitive matter, he told reporters that he would be restrained in his reaction, but would certainly ask the Centre to take the Opposition into confidence for giving a "collective" response, as national security can not be secured without affecting worldwide relations.

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.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the matter was "very sensitive" and the government must act responsibly while maintaining a balance between internal security and worldwide obligations while taking a call on the issue. He also asked global human rights bodies not to spread misinformation about India.

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