Rohingya Muslims 'threat' to India's security: Govt tells SC to justify deportation

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Over 40,000 of those Rohingyas, who fled Myanmar, have entered India illegally, according to government's estimate.

More than 410,000 refugees from Myanmar have poured into Bangladesh since 25 August when attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts triggered a Myanmar army operation that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing.

Meanwhile, after India announced its decision to deport the refugees a few days back, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' spokesperson had said that Guterres was concerned about the matter and the refugees shouldn't be sent back.

Two Rohingya Muslim refugees have filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the deportation of Rohingya Muslims, who have taken refuge in India to escape persecution in Myanmar.

"But you can not say that merely because there are some inputs which suggest terrorist organizations are trying to radicalize them etcetera, therefore we will ignore human rights or rights under various global conventions", he added.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing the Rohingya at the Supreme Court hearing, said the Indian constitution "provides equal rights and liberty to every person" including non-citizens.

The BJP-led government also said that the decision was taken after a lot of consideration and that the apex court must not interfere in the matter.

Party spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said by definition all refugees are "illegal" until the respective state grants them "refugee status" and allow them to stay.

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The plea said that India has ratified and is a signatory to various conventions that recognise the principle of "non-refoulement", which prohibits the deportation of refugees to a country where they may face threat to their lives.

The Indian government has contended that there was an organized Rohingya Muslim influx which started in 2012 and their number is around 40000 now.

Adjourning the hearing, the court asked the petitioner and others to file their rejoinder to the Centre's stand before the next date of hearing.

The Centre said India has not signed any worldwide treaty on refugees and was under no obligation to keep the Rohingyas, lakhs of whom have fled Myanmar over the past few weeks to escape a crackdown by government forces in the neighbouring country.

Their plea challenged the government's deportation plan on several grounds, including violation of worldwide human rights conventions.

Most of the Rohingya Muslims now settled in in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

Thousands of Rohingyas have poured into Bangladesh - and some into India - after fleeing a military offensive in Myanmar's Rakhine state.