The Supreme Court on Monday sought the view of the Modi government on the validity of 40,000 Rohingya Muslim Refugees who have taken refuge in India to escape persecution in Myanmar.
“What is your stand? Are they (Rohingyas) as a class entitled to stay in India as refugees? Tell us by September 11,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who represented the Narendra Modi government.
The bench directed noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is appearing for the Rohingya community (which has challenged the move to send them back) to give a copy of his petition to the Centre.
However, the bench refused to issue any interim stay on deportation. As Bhushan said the court needed to ensure that no coercive steps shall be taken against the Rohingya refugees till the next date of hearing (Monday), Mehta merely said, “I am not making any statement.”
‘VIOLATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION’
Rohingya Muslims have termed the move to deport them as a ” violation of the constitutional protection they enjoyed in India”.
Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, the petitioners, said, “This proposed deportation is contrary to the Constitutional protections of Article 14, Article 21 and Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India, which provides equal rights and liberty to every person living in India.”
India has already warned Myanmar that Pakistan-based militants like Lashkar-e-Taiba are radicalising members of the Rohingya community, which posed a security risk to both the countries as well as the region.
‘ILLEGAL MIGRANTS PRONE TO RECRUITMENT BY TERROR GROUPS’
In August, minister of state for Home Kiren Rijiju had said that according to available data, more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, were staying in India.
He had said that around 40,000 Rohingyas were staying in India illegally.
In a communication to all states, the union home ministry had said the rise of terrorism in last few decades has become a serious concern for most nations as illegal migrants are prone to getting recruited by terrorist organisations.
The Centre had directed the state governments to set up a task force at district level to identify and deport illegally-staying foreign nationals.
He also said that India is a signatory to various Conventions that recognise the principle of ‘Non-Refoulement’, that prohibits the deportation of refugees to a country where they face threat to their life.