India Calls Rohingya a Security Threat in Deportation Bid

Satellite imagery shows mass destruction targeting Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine: HRW

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

On August 8 Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs dilip Kumar wrote to chief secretaries of all states requesting them to identify Rohingyas who had entered India and deport them.

He points out that the Rohingyas in India have no intention to seek refugee status and this is proven by the fact that many of them have taken PAN cards and ration cards in India.

The government has sealed the maritime boundary after receiving intelligence that Rohingya Muslims would try to enter India using sea routes, according to Indian media reports Wednesday.

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"We don't want to cause any serious injury or arrest them, but we won't tolerate Rohingya on Indian soil", said a senior official with the Border Security Force (BSF) in New Delhi. "They are illegal immigrants", he said while addressing a seminar organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Over the past few years, the Myanmar government has committed multiple atrocities on the Rohingya Muslims, who are considered "stateless entities".

Scores of Rohingya Muslim refugees have been left stranded in Bangladesh after flash floods swept away their makeshift tents and belongings, just days after they escaped violence at the hands of Myanmar's military. Any sovereign country, the minister said, was free to take a decision on what kind of action it should take against illegal immigrants. They are thus entitled to protection under various global conventions, which India has signed and ratified, they said and prayed for a stay on their deportation.

Centre's affidavit says presence of Rohingya Muslims in India is a drain on India's resources and a serious security threat to country.

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The petition, filed by Commission's Chairperson Ananya Chakraborty, has been accepted for hearing and is expected to be heard on October 3. In the past four weeks, over 420,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, and satellite imagery and heat sensors analysed by Human Rights Watch have shown more than 228 villages burned to the ground in northern Rakhine state.

Both UN and human rights activists argue that despite India not being a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it is bound by global principles of non-refoulement.

Bangladesh, which is facing a big influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the worldwide community to intervene and put pressure on Myanmar to address the exodus.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said that the country would take back verified refugees. "In the five or six years that we have been here, we have never felt that we are foreigners here nor have we ever felt any kind of fear", said Salimullah ahead of the case.

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