Some Rohingya have links to ISI, ISIS, says govt to SC; Cong urges Centre to speak to all parties

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah also added that that there was no intelligence input suggesting that Rohingyas were a security threat in the state till 2014.

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Some Rohingya have links to ISI, ISIS, says govt to SC; Cong urges Centre to speak to all parties

Some Rohingyas have been found with links to Pakistan's ISI, the Islamic State terror group and extremist outfits targeting India, the Centre said today, while making it clear that it was bound to take action against the illegal migrants as per the law.

The Union home ministry said that the influx of the Rohingyas started in 2012-13 and the involvement of some of these illegal migrants has been noticed in criminal activities, including fraudulent and illegally obtaining Indian identification documents and fake currency etc.

"It has also spawned a network of organised group of touts and agents who are involved in such rackets. In addition, some of the illegal migrants are suspected to having links with ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and ISIS operatives and members of extremists groups targeting India," a home ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

Amidst the ongoing debate on the illegal migrants, the home ministry said no illegal migrant has a right to stay in India without prescribed legal documents and asserted that the central government's decision on the declaration of an individual as a foreigner is final according to existing law.

The home ministry also said that the right and duty of the Indian government to take action is critical and any interference with this has the potential of encouraging and legitimising illegal migration which can be detrimental for Indian citizens.

The statement came as the Supreme Court is hearing a plea filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who are registered as refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They have claimed that they have taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

The central government today told the Supreme Court that the Rohingya Muslims are "illegal" immigrants in the country and their continuous stay posed "serious national security ramifications".

The home ministry spokesperson said that the Foreigners Act 1946 empowers the Indian government to take action against foreigners staying illegally in the country and makes it obligatory for the government to act in the matter.

The process of identification and deportation of such foreigners illegally staying in India is elaborately laid in executive instructions which strictly follow established due process of law.

"As a matter of policy, the government of India does not support illegal migrants either in own territories or Indian citizens in foreign territories," he said.

Curbing illegal migration is a priority area for the government since it has major security, economic and social ramifications and impinges significantly on the basic rights of Indian citizens.

Regulated migration on the other hand is facilitated through an elaborate visa regime which aims to serve the best interests of all concerned parties, including potential migrants.

No illegal migrant has a right to stay without prescribed legal documents nor is he entitled to the right to reside and move freely within India under Article 19 which is available only to Indian citizens, the home ministry said.

"The government of India's first duty is towards its own citizens which are to be accomplished within available resources. However, all illegal migrants are to be dealt with under the due process of rule and law applicable in our democratic set up," the spokesperson said.

The Centre’s allegations was, however, questioned by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah who said that there was no intelligence input suggesting that Rohingyas were a security threat in the state till 2014.

The National Conference leader was reacting to the affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court that Rohingyas' presence in the country would pose a "serious" national security threat.

"This threat, at least in J&K, is a post-2014 development. No such intelligence reports ever came up for discussion in Unified HQ meetings," Omar, who was the chief minister of the state till 2014, wrote on Twitter.

The Unified Headquarters comprises Army, para-military forces, police and state and central intelligence agencies.

Meanwhile, the Congress urged the government to take all parties into confidence and not have a "blanket approach" on the issue of the Rohingyas.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the matter was "very sensitive" and the government must act responsibly while maintaining a balance between internal security and international obligations while taking a call on the issue.

"It is incumbent and obligatory on the government to take every part of the political spectrum into confidence in a collective sense on this very important and sensitive matter," he told reporters here.

The Congress leader said such collective consultations would help the government decipher genuine national security problems.

"A blanket approach is never helpful. We beseech the government not to use blanket approaches. We are given to understand that in the affidavit given to the Supreme Court the government has suggested that it is not bound by any international treaty," he said.

Singhvi said whether it was a technical point or a blanket approach, "you should be very guarded" because the government ultimately changes, parties and time change, but the country and the affidavit in the Supreme Court are permanent.

On the Centre's plea that the Rohingyas were involved in anti-national activities, Singhvi said this was a sensitive matter and "all have to be restrained and responsible about this".

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