Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his official visit to Myanmar, the Centre said that it has started the process of identifying Rohingya refugees in India so that they could be deported since they are illegal immigrants to the country.
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju said on Tuesday that the government has set up a task force to identify Rohingyas in different states where they have taken refuge so that the process of deporting them can begin. The minister was replying to questions on what the government had decided on the issue of Rohingya refugees who have entered India illegally
He also criticised rights organisations for their “unncessesarily” accusing India of following a “harsh” policy.
“International organisations are unnecessarily accusing India of being harsh on Rohingyas, who are illegal immigrants in India and have no legal reason to remain here. Having said that, I would say that we are not throwing them into the ocean and shooting them, we are only identifying them to deport them. So why are we being accused of being inhuman?” Rijiju asked.
Although a reiteration of the Centre’s known stand, Rijiju’s comments may appear significant because they come amid growing advocacy in certain quarters to allow the refugees to settle down here on the ground that they have no place to go.
Rohingyas have approached the Supreme Court against the Centre’s deportation plan, while Amnesty International weighed in for them, asking the PM to protect them instead of threatening them with deportation.
“We have told states to create task forces to identify them, wherever they are, to start the process of deporting them,” Rijiju replied, adding, “India has absorbed maximum number of refugees, so nobody should tell India on how to deal with refugees.”
The minister was addressing a press conference on the development of northeastern states when he was asked about the Rohingyas. With the PM visiting Myanmar, Amnesty International on Tuesday urged him to push the country’s leadership to provide assistance to Rohingyas in the violence-hit Rakhine state. The rights body also said that the Modi government should “reaffirm” its commitment to protect Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers in India instead of “threatening” them with deportation.