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2-min read

On Rohingya Issue, It's Varun Gandhi vs Union Minister Hansraj Ahir

India should formulate a national refugee policy to help distinguish between those fleeing persecution and those fleeing poverty, said BJP MP Varun Gandhi in a report.


Updated:September 26, 2017, 3:48 PM IST
On Rohingya Issue, It's Varun Gandhi vs Union Minister Hansraj Ahir
File photo of BJP MP Varun Gandhi and Union Minister Hansraj Ahir. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: BJP MP Varun Gandhi’s pitch for providing shelter to Rohingya refugees invited the Centre’s ire on Tuesday, with Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir saying national interest should come first.

In an opinion piece for Hindi daily Navbharat Times, Varun Gandhi said India should continue to shelter Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing persecution in neighbouring Myanmar.

“India should formulate a national refugee policy to help distinguish between those fleeing persecution and those fleeing poverty,” Gandhi said in the piece. He also talked about the “discrimination” Afghani and Myanmar immigrants face in Delhi while hunting for houses and jobs.

The view is in stark contrast to what the BJP-led Centre has submitted in the Supreme Court. In an affidavit submitted to the top court, the Centre has called Rohingya a “security threat”.

“Rohingya are not refugees, nor have they taken asylum. They are illegal immigrants,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said last week.

In a confidential report, which has been accessed by News18, the Centre has also alleged Rohingya links with the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

Hitting back at Gandhi, MoS Home Hansraj Ahir told reporters, "Jo desh ke hith mein sochenga, woh is tarah ke bayan nahi dega (anyone with national interest in mind won't make such statements)."

“It’s not about my opinion or acceptance. What the government had decided is in national interest. No one should go against the government’s decision on Rohingya,” Ahir told CNN-News18.

Agreeing with Ahir, BJP leader Shaina NC told CNN-News18, “The government is going its job. Modi government is very competent to handle this situation. If someone is raising the humanitarian angle, he should study the issue better.”

Defending his stand, Varun Gandhi tweeted that he was calling for “empathy” through the article and that each refugee should be vetted to address “national security concerns”.

The BJP, in its national executive on Monday, adopted a resolution supporting the government's stand on the Rohingya issue, saying it fulfilled its responsibilities by providing humanitarian relief to Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees while ensuring that internal security was not compromised for its 125 crore citizens.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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