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India says Rohingya refugees threat to national security

19 September 2017

"Whatever government will do, will be in nation's interest", Hindustan Times quoted Minister of State for home affairs Kiren Rijiju as saying before the Supreme Court hearing.

Centre tells Parliament that over 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, were staying in India and around 40,000 of them were staying illegally.

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

It also said there was information on Rohingya involvement in plots by Islamic State and other "extremist groups" to ignite communal and sectarian violence in India.

The government also said in its affidavit filed in the top court that militant elements among Rohingyas are active in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mewar and Jammu, and added that it will place all intelligence inputs before the court on October 3. "Since India is not a party to the said Convention, or the said Protocol, the obligations contained therein are not applicable to India", the affidavit said.

Meanwhile, after India announced its decision to deport the refugees a few days back, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' spokesperson had said that Guterres was concerned about the matter and the refugees shouldn't be sent back.

The court had asked the Narendra Modi government to file an affidavit after two Rohingya refugees filed a plea asking the apex court to intervene and stay the deportation process. "Our way forward will be based on the nation's interest and we'll mention the same in our affidavit to be submitted in the Supreme Court".

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The petition was filed by two Rohingya Muslims-Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir-who are now living in India.

It says the Rohingya can not use the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees since India was not a signatory to either.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud directed the hearing for October as the Centre told the bench that they would be filing their response during the day.

The Centre said India has not signed any worldwide treaty on refugees and was under no obligation to keep the Rohingyas, lakhs of whom have fled Myanmar over the past few weeks to escape a crackdown by government forces in the neighbouring country.

Any government policy violative of the fundamental rights would be questioned by the Supreme Court, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader said.

They claimed that they have taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

India says Rohingya refugees threat to national security