Rohingya pose security threat, Centre tells SC

No illegal immigrant can pray for relief from court: Government

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Rohingya pose security threat, Centre tells SC

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Rohingya Muslims are "illegal" immigrants in the country and their continuous stay has "serious national security ramifications" for India.

The Centre's affidavit also says that many Rohingya refugees have links with the Islamic State as well as Pakistan's ISI and therefore allowing them to stay in India would pose a security threat to the country.

"It is also found by the Central Government that many of the Rohingya figure in the suspected sinister designs of ISI/ISIS and other extremist groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas of the country," the 16-paged affidavit added.

Some of the 40,000-strong Rohingya Muslims in India are also taking advantage of the porus Indian borders and indulging in human trafficking.

Providing facilities and privileges to illegal immigrants would be a diversion of resources which rightfully belong to Indian citizens, the affidavit says.

The affidavit, containing the Centre's response to the pleas to let Rohingya refugees remain in the country, also asserts that the Centre's plan to deport Rohingya refugees was a policy decision, asking the court to desist from interfering in the matter.

Further, it also said the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country was available to citizens only and illegal refugees couldn't invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right.

The affidavit comes after last week's faux-pas by the Centre in the matter.

Earlier during the day, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra fixed the PIL challenging the deportation of Rohingyas for hearing on October 3.

"As evident from the constitutional guarantee flowing from Article 19 of the Constitution, the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India as well as right to move freely throughout the territory of India is available only to the citizens of India... No illegal immigrant can pray for a writ of this Court which directly or indirectly confers the fundamental rights in general...," the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

The government said it may file in sealed cover the details of the security threats and inputs gathered by the various security agencies in this matter.

The Centre also said that since India was not a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951, the obligations concerned to non-refoulement wasn't applicable.

"That the provisions of Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951 and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1967 cannot be relied upon by the petitioner since India is not a signatory of either of them. It is respectfully submitted that the obligation concerning the prohibition of return/non-refoulement is a codified provision under the provisions of 1951 Convention referred to above.

The petitioners - two Rohingya immigrants – have contended that they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

Today, jurist Fali Nariman stood with the Rohingyas as several appeals were heard on the Centre's move to deport the Rohingyas. Two new appeals - one for the deportation, and one against were also filed in this matter. Senior advocates Colin Gonsalves, Rajeev Dhawan, Kapil Sibal along with advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is representing the original petitioners - two Rohingya refugees, also appeared for the community.

Matiur Rahman of Assam filed an application through advocate Somiran Sharma, citing the recurring ethnic conflicts in Assam, to oppose the Rohingyas' plea to be allowed to stay.

Earlier, speaking to reporters here, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju asserted the government's stand to deport Rohingya refugees was in the nation's interest. He also asked international human rights bodies not to spread misinformation about India.

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