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Government stands firm: Why should India shelter Rohingyas?

Government stands firm: Why should India shelter Rohingyas?

India on Thursday announced it will send food and medical assistance to help Bangladesh support vast numbers of Rohingya refugees who have crossed over from the border in Myanmar.

In a letter to the states on August 8, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that illegal immigrants not only infringe on the rights of Indian citizens but also aggravate the security challenges posed to the country. Based on several assessments made by intelligence agencies, the government reached a conclusion that Rohingyas could be a security threat as they are vulnerable to be recruited by terror groups. His subsequent clarification that he merely wanted them "pushed back" - not thrown into the ocean or shot - further belies India's image as a benevolent host.

Experts in India defend the government's stand.

"It has also been found that many Rohingyas figure in the suspected sinister design of ISIS/other extremist groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in the sensitive areas of the country", the Centre's affidavit read.

Both UN and human rights activists argue that despite India not being a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it is bound by global principles of non-refoulement which holds that no nation should deport a refugee to territories where his life or freedom would be under threat based on his race, religion, nationality, or membership of a social or political group.

The government, she said, should also hold talks with governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to resolve the problems of Rohingya Muslims. The attacks were carried out by a little known militant group called Arakan Salavation Army. "We are really concerned", Ms. Banerjee said in a tweet. When questioned about the Ruling government led by Narendra Modi's stand on the deportation of the Rohingyas, Rajnath Singh said that whatever is the decision of the government will be clear on 18 Sep when it files the affidavit in the court.

According to the document possibility of Rohingya militancy could have a severe impact of fragile security scenario in the North-East and destabilise the region. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing on behalf of the refugees, urged the top court to stay the ban on humanitarian grounds, as the Rohingyas are being subjected to persecution in Myanmar. In Kelambakkam, UNHCR had given them a two-story building to live in without rent. Many of those who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

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