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Varun Gandhi rebuked by party over his Rohingya op-ed

MoS Home Hansraj Ahir slams him, says 'think of the country's good'

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Varun Gandhi rebuked by party over his Rohingya op-ed
Varun Gandhi was chastised by Hansraj Ahir (right) for his article in a Hindi daily
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Even as Bharatiya Janata Party's Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi already has a strained relationship with his party, he faced further rebuke from the government on Tuesday for having a contrary and compassionate stand on the ongoing crisis in Myanmar and the persecuted Rohingya refugees.

Responding to Gandhi's article in a Hindi daily, in which he suggested providing asylum to the persecuted Rohingya refugees after a thorough security vetting, Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir responded, "Jo desh ke hith mein sochega, vo is tarah ke bayan nahi dega." (Those who thought of national interests, would not make such statements.)

Following Ahir's rebuke and being trolled online, Gandhi tweeted that his article "focused primarily on defining India's asylum policy, with clear demarcations on how we would accept refugees."

"As for the Rohingyas, I've called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns," explained Gandhi in another tweet.

Gandhi's views on Rohingya put him in opposition with the BJP government's stand on the issue, but in sync with the views of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) whose high commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, recently said that around 14,000 Rohingyas living in India are registered with the UNHCR and that as per the international law, the government cannot carry out the deportations.

A few days ago, the Union home ministry had termed the Rohingya refugees as "illegal" immigrants, and filed an afffidavit in the Supreme Court that some of them were part of a "sinister design of Pakistan's ISI and terror groups such as the ISIS" so their presence in the country poses a "serious national security threat".

Last week, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also said that Rohingya were not refugees who have applied for asylum in India, but illegal immigrants who will be deported.

In its extended national executive too, the BJP 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.

Saving face

After Ahir's slam, Gandhi clarified that his article only focused on defining India's asylum policy
Also said "called for empathy and asylum only after security vetting"

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