Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Mistake reveals stand on Rohingya

A draft affidavit that got leaked by mistake suggests the Centre wanted to deport an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslim immigrants and was about to tell the Supreme Court that they were a security risk, demographic threat and a drain on resources.

By R. Balaji
  • Published 15.09.17
  •  

New Delhi, Sept. 14: A draft affidavit that got leaked by mistake suggests the Centre wanted to deport an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslim immigrants and was about to tell the Supreme Court that they were a security risk, demographic threat and a drain on resources.

"When the decision to deport illegal immigrants... is taken in larger public interest and in the interest of national security, such a decision being a policy decision may not be interfered with by this hon'ble court...," says the draft document.

The government later issued a clarification saying the draft affidavit had not been finalised.

According to the draft, "there is... a serious potential possibility of eruption of violence against Myanmar government diplomatic missions and also against Buddhists who are Indian citizens (and) who stay on India soil by the radicalised Rohingyas."

Deporting the Rohingyas will help thwart the "designs of ISIS (Islamic State) and other extremists groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives, including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas of the country".

Until now, the Centre had not explicitly confirmed plans to deport the Rohingyas although junior home minister Kiren Rijiju had dropped loud hints. India has traditionally refrained from deporting refugees fleeing war, ethnic violence or occupation.

The draft, formulated on Monday by a deputy secretary in the home ministry, suggests the government wanted to contend that the Islamic State and extremist groups from Pakistan and Bangladesh might use these immigrants from Myanmar to whip up sectarian violence in India. The Centre claims that some of the Rohingya refugees already have terror links.

The court is expected to take the matter up on September 18. Some Rohingya immigrants had challenged the government's purported decision to deport them. Former Sangh ideologue K.N. Govindacharya too has moved an intervention application seeking deportation of the Rohingyas on the ground of national security.

Today, after questioning by journalists, the government released a letter written by B.V. Balram Das, deputy government advocate, central agency, law and justice ministry, to the Rohingya petitioners' counsel, Sayed Marzook Bafakhi.

The letter says: "An un-finalised copy is served upon inadvertently.... Kindly therefore do not treat the copy served upon you as the affidavit of the central government."