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Rohingyas Are Illegal Immigrants Not Refugees, Says Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there is a proper procedure to attain refugee status and the Rohingyas haven’t followed this procedure.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:September 21, 2017, 2:09 PM IST
New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said Rohingyas are illegal immigrants and not refugees. He argued that since Rohingyas in India have not sought asylum following the due process, they can’t be called refugees.

“Some immigrants have come illegally. We have filed an affidavit in Supreme Court about them. Do not make a mistake of calling them (Rohingyas) refugees. They are illegal immigrants,” Rajnath said.

The Home Minister argued that since India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees, it cannot be acccused of violating international laws.
Rajnath also asked why some people were objecting to the deportation of Rohingyas when Myanmar was ready to accept them.

On Monday, Myanmarese leader Aung Sang Su Ki said that after verification Rohingyas can be allowed back in Myanmar. “Those who have been verified as refugees will be accepted without any problems and with full assurance of security and access to humanitarian aid,” she said.

Interestingly Rajnath Singh's attack on human rights law came while he was inaugrating a two-day National Seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights, organised by the National Human Rights Commission. With NHRC chairman D L Dattu on the dias, Rajnath Singh chided the human rights community for criticising India’s stance on Rohingyas.

“Western human rights have been through struggle but in India it always existed. Our country has taken oral universal declaration (for human rights). Today if you have done navratra puja, the pandit would have chanted the shanti shloka. It shows our commitment,” he said after reciting the Sanskrit shloka.

NHRC chief D L Dattu however maintained that NHRC will speak in favour of Rohingyas irrespective of the government’s stand. “We will plead the case of 40,000 Rohingyas on humanitarian ground. Cannot comment on government policy but we are helping them because they are being persecuted in Myanmar,” Dattu said.

AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi criticised Rajnath’s statement calling it disingenuous. “Whole world knows Rohingyas are stateless. Myanmar does not accept them as citizens. The Narendra Modi government amended citizenship act saying Hindus, Christians, Parsis etc coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan without documents will be accepted. Why is the Rohingya issue being looked through prism of religion?” he said

The Union home ministry maintains that the Rohingyas in India have been coming in since 2012 and are not part of the current exodus being seen in Myanmar.

MHA sources told CNN-News18 that there is high alert on Indo-Myanmar and Indo-Bangla border and no reports have come so far of any Rohingya trying to cross over in last few days.

Rajnath said Rohingyas in India are a security threat but India is still helping Bangladesh tackle the current exodus on humanitarian grounds.

| Edited by: Ananya Chakraborty
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