The Centre’s Narendra Modi government told the Supreme Court on Monday that Rohingya Muslims had to go back to Myanmar claiming that they were illegal immigrants in India and posed security risks to the country.
Many were quick to rubbish the government’s astonishing claims. Back in refugee camps across India, Rohingyas, already declared by the UN as the most persecuted ethnic race in the world, are living with a visible sense of trepidation.
They are aware of the potential consequences if they are forced to return to Myanmar, where Buddhist terrorists and Burmese army at the behest of the Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, have been mercilessly carrying out the ethnic cleansing of Muslims.
12-year-old Noorul Islam has been living in a refugee camp in south Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area, but circumstances have made him more matured than his actual age.
He told PTI, “I am happy here and I love going to school. I would never like to go back to my homeland because the military kills children there. I want to request the government not to send us back to Myanmar.”
Most refugees are forced to live in abject poverty and amidst unhealthy environment. For example, Noorul’s tent in Delhi is right next to a garbage dump. But, at least they have the solace of not being killed by Buddhist terrorists in Myanmar and most of them have access to education.
Noorul said that he was seven years old when his family was forced to flee Myanmar after Buddhist terrorists attacked their home in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. He also remembers their escape from death and the early days of struggle in Bangladesh from where they were turned out and made their way to India.
“We went hungry for days until we arrived in India and my father started selling fish to earn a living,” he said breaking down in pain.
35-year-old Abdul Rahim said that he was shocked by the government’s plan to deport them. “I would rather die here than go back to my country where people are facing atrocities and violence.”
Hoping for some intervention, Shabeer, who works with the Rohingyas Human Rights Initiative (ROHRIngya), has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
“We wrote a letter to the foreign minister on August 23 and are waiting for a reply. I want to ask the government here why they want to deport us,” he said.
The government told Parliament on August 9 that more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, are at present staying in India.
Today, the Centre told the Supreme Court that Rohingya Muslims are “illegal” immigrants in the country and their continuous stay had “serious national security ramifications”.
According to the Centre’s affidavit, filed in the apex court registry, the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right.