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Calcutta High Court Stays Deportation of Rohingya Couple 'in Spirit of Humanity'

In 2017, the couple Abdur Sukur and Anowara Begum had illegally entered India from Bangladesh. Following this, they served two years in jail as per Section 14 of the Foreigner's Act.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:December 26, 2019, 5:08 PM IST
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Calcutta High Court Stays Deportation of Rohingya Couple 'in Spirit of Humanity'
File Photo of Calcutta High Court.

Kolkata: In a crucial judgment, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday stayed the deportation of a Rohingya couple. During the hearing, the couple’s lawyer Indrajeet Dey had argued that their expatriation to Myanmar “would be tantamount to a death sentence”.

Abdur Sukur and Anowara Begum had illegally entered India from Bangladesh in 2017. They were arrested in Basirhat in North 24 Parganas while on their way to New Delhi for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hearing.

The couple had been given the UNHCR’s refugee cards and had already served out the two-year sentence as per Section 14 of the Foreigners Act. Dey argued before the court that sending them to Myanmar will amount to the death penalty and one should not equate refugees with illegal immigrants.

The bench headed by Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, after hearing both parties including the state panel representative lawyer Arka Nag, expressed discontentment with the government panel’s decision. “The state government is saying that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is illegal, then how can you support their deportation?” asked the bench.

The bench was referring to the state government's vehement opposition to the proposed implementation of the NRC. "As long as I am alive, I will not allow them to implement CAA or NRC in Bengal and divide the country along religious lines," CM Mamata Banerjee had said.

Considering that expatriation will pose a risk to Sukur and Begum’s lives, Justice Bhattacharya decided in “the spirit of humanity” to issue a stay order and instructed the state government to provide basic amenities to the couple to help them “live a life with dignity”.

The matter will be heard again on January 20 as Justice Bhattacharya sought a detailed response from the Centre and the West Bengal government.

On August 2017, nearly seven lakh Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine following a crackdown by the Myanmar Army. Several of them took shelter in Bangladesh, while the rest of them sought refuge in India.

The central government wanted to push out the refugees citing security concerns. Human right organisations like the UNHCR, however, have remained in vehement opposition to the decision and demanded the government chalk out elaborate plans for their welfare.

On September 18, 2017, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her support for the Rohingyas and accused the central government of harassing them in the name of deportation.

Banerjee's support came after the Union Home Ministry in a confidential report termed Rohingya migrants as a “security threat to India”, linking them to terror organisations such as the Islamic State and the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

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