Indian court allows deportation of 7 Rohingya to Myanmar

Ranjan Gogoi

India deports Rohingya Muslims, drawing U.N. ire

India on Thursday deported seven Rohingya to Myanmar, despite United Nations warnings that the men faced persecution in a country where the army is accused of genocide against the Muslim minority.

Having considered the prayer, we would not like to interfere with the decision taken.

The illegal immigrants were detained in 2012 and since then they were lodged in Cachar Central Jail in Assam's Silchar.

The Centre said that the illegal immigrants of Rohingya constitute a National Security threat and hence ordered all the State Governments to conduct biometric details of Rohingya refugees and to deport them to Myanmar.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

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With the repatriation, India not only made a political point of not keeping Rohingya immigrants, which is an important voter issue in the north-east, but also persuaded Myanmar to take them back legally and with relevant documents. "They were handed over to the authorities of Myanmar at Moreh border post in Manipur", Assam Additional Director General of Police (Border) Bhaskar J Mahanta told news agency PTI over the phone.

The interim plea, seeking urgent measures to stop the proposed deportation of seven Rohingyas, was filed in a pending PIL.

The fresh plea said that the decision to deport was in "grave violation" of India's worldwide obligation and moreover, the situation in Myanmar was extremely risky for the Rohingyas to return and they are likely to be subjected to torture and even killed.

The repatriation process began Wednesday morning, when the Rohingya men left Silchar for Moreh.

He said that after the genocide which has happened in Myanmar in which over 10,000 people have died, lakhs of Rohingya have migrated to Bangladesh and India. They have been in the country since 2012 and have also served jail terms for illegal entry.

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Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju, speaking exclusively to India Today TV, said that Rohingya are all "illegal immigrants" in India, not "refugees".

Achiume said India risked breaching its worldwide legal obligations by returning the men to possible harm.

Thursday's expulsion marks the first such move by India and comes at a time when some of the country's local media have been picking on the Rohingya as troublemakers, engaged in everything from petty crime to acts of terrorism. This was after CJI Gogoi asked, "First of all, they have been recognised as Myanmar citizens". An estimated 40,000 Rohingya have taken refuge in parts of India.

About 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape a brutal campaign of violence by Myanmar's military.

UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said in a statement, "The Indian Government has an worldwide legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection".

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