Despite UN concern, India deports first batch of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar

Guwahati: The first group of Rohingya Muslims were deported to Myanmar on Thursday. The Indian government had last year ordered the expulsion of members of the Myanmar minority group and others who entered the country illegally.

Following the rejection of a plea by the Supreme Court filed by the seven men’s lawyer seeking permission for the 7 Rohingya Muslims to remain in India because they feared reprisals in Myanmar, they were deported Thursday. The SC allowed their deportation saying Myanmar had accepted them as citizens. Government attorney Tushar Mehta told the judges that Myanmar had given the seven certificates of identity and 1-month visas to facilitate their deportation. They were in jail since 2012 after being arrested for entering India illegally. They were handed over to Myanmar officials at a border crossing in Moreh in Manipur state.

Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar are denied citizenship and face widespread discrimination. The move by India invited criticism from Amnesty India saying that the seven men were at grave risk of being subjected to serious human rights violations by the Myanmar government.

The UN special rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said India risked breaching its international legal obligations by returning the men to possible harm. About 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape a brutal campaign of violence by Myanmar’s military.