Cannot Deport Rohingya Refugees Till Next Hearing, Supreme Court Tells Government

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

"The role of the state has to be multi-pronged and must be humanitarian", Chief Justice Misra observed.

Mindful of the centre's concern, the court told the petitioner that they were free to straightaway approach the top SC if any contingency situation arose.

However, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta strongly objected to the court passing any order to that effect.

The apex court said that national importance can not be secondary and at the same time human rights of Rohingyas should be kept in mind.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court also added that Rohingyas can not be deported till the matter is being heard in the court.

The top court had earlier heard the centre insist that the court must not entertain the petition from two Rohingya Muslims against sending them back and called the 40,000-odd "Rohingya immigrants" in India as a threat to national security. Citing intelligence inputs, it has claimed that Rohingyas figure in the "suspected sinister designs" of Pakistan's notorious spy agency the ISI, and terror outfit ISIS.

He argued that the Centre's stand towards Rohingyas was exactly opposite of India's consistent pro-refugees stand in global fora.

In their petition, the two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, argued that they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

While the Centre's ruling BJP and its ideological mentor RSS have strongly advocated deportation of the Rohingyas, Opposition parties and civil society members have vehemently opposed the move and insisted for taking a sensitive and humanitarian approach. India also told the United Nations Human Rights Council that the prevailing situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state should be handled with "restraint" and focus on the "welfare of the civilian population". "This is simply not the case and the evidence to support these assertions have not held up", read the letter. The government has said some are extremists who pose a threat to India's security.

'We have to strike a balance.

The affidavit stated that the Rohingyas should be treated at par with Tibetan and Sri Lankan refugees.

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