New Delhi: The Supreme Court will take a call on the central government’s plans to deport Rohingya Muslims, who entered the country “illegally”, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today.
“An affidavit has been filed. Whatever decision is to be taken, it will be taken by the court,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
The Centre today told the apex court that the Rohingya Muslims were “illegal” immigrants in the country and that their continuous stay posed “serious national security ramifications”.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court registry, the NDA government said 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.
The apex court is hearing a plea filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who are registered as refugees under the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR). They claimed that they have taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.
The immigrants also challenged their deportation on grounds of violation of international human rights conventions.
The issue came to the fore after the home ministry in July stated that illegal immigrants such as the Rohingyas posed grave security challenges as they might be recruited by terror groups, and asked the state governments to identify and deport them.
The ministry also directed the state governments to set up a task force at district level to identify and deport “illegally-staying foreign nationals”.
The government had told the parliament on August 9 that according to available data, more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, were staying in India.
However, some inputs indicate that around 40,000 undocumented Rohingyas were staying in India, mostly in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan regions.