The Narendra Modi government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Rohingya Muslims’ illegal immigration into India was illegal and their continued stay poses a serious security threat to the nation.
Filing its response on the issue of deportation of Myanmar’s ethnic minority Muslim community from India, the Centre told the top court that it has intelligence inputs of links between many Rohingya Muslims and Pakistan’s ISI and the Islamic State.
The Centre said it had found that “many of the Rohingya figure in suspected sinister designs of ISI/IS and other extremist groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India, including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas”.
In its 15-pade affidavit, the government also said that deporting Rohingyas is an “executive policy decision” and the apex court must not interfere, indicating that it was best to let the Executive decide on the issue of deportation of refugees in the country.
It asserted that the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right.
Seeking more time to file a detailed response in this regard, the Centre further stated that militant elements among the Rohingyas are active in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mewar and Jammu.
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 added that there are around 40,000 such refugees in the country, and contented that their presence is a “serious security threat to the nation”.
The Centre also raised concern over the long-term fallout of permitting a large number of illegal immigrants to stay in India. “India is a country with a large population, surplus labour force, and has its complex social/cultural/economical infrastructure. Providing facilities/privileges to illegal immigrants out of existing national resources… would deprive Indian citizens of their legitimate share in the employment sector, subsidised housing, medical and educational facilities and would thereby culminate in hostility towards immigrants, resulting into (sic) inevitable social tension and law and order problems. The fundamental rights of Indian citizens would, therefore, be seriously violated,” the 15-page affidavit said.
Meanwhile, the apex court refused a plea to issue a notice to the National Human Rights Commission, which openly backed Rohingya Muslims and said that it would argue against their deportation.
Taking note of the Centre’s reply, the court has adjourned the hearing in the matter to October .
Assertingthat the Rohingya issue was very sensitive and the Centre’s ‘blanket approach’ will not help sort out the matter, the Congress on Monday demanded the government to take all parties into confidence.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the matter was “very sensitive” and the government must act responsibly while maintaining a balance between internal security and international obligations while taking a call on the issue.
“It is incumbent and obligatory on the government to take every part of the political spectrum into confidence in a collective sense on this very important and sensitive matter,” he said.
Singhvi said whether it was a technical point or a blanket approach, “you should be very guarded” because the government ultimately changes, parties and time change, but the country and the affidavit in the Supreme Court are permanent.
Don’t communalise the issue: BJP urges Opposition parties
The BJP on Tuesday urged the Opposition parties to appreciate Centre’s stand on Rohingya, adding that the matter should not be given a communal angle.
“When intelligence agencies of any country come up with any sensitive information based on which the government takes the stand then everybody must respect this. Because the government is bound to defend the lives of every citizen of its country. We have suffered enough from terrorism. The stand is taken and must be appreciated. Nobody should try to communalise it,” BJP leader Sudesh Verma told news agency ANI.
Verma’s statement follows Congress’ assertion on the issues, and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi’s claim that the affidavit filed by the Centre may not stand the legal scrutiny as refugees are also entitled to fundamental rights.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also reacted to the Centre’s affidavit saying that there was no intelligence input suggesting that Rohingyas were a security threat in the state till 2014.
“This threat, at least in J&K, is a post-2014 development. No such intelligence reports ever came up for discussion in Unified HQ meetings,” Omar, who was the chief minister of the state till 2014, wrote on Twitter