Ten members of the Rohingya community, who are lodged in a jail in Assam, have urged the Gauhati High Court to either allow them to remain in India by granting them refugee status or deport them to Myanmar.

These 10 people were arrested for entering India without proper documents, have served their sentences but are in prison for last seven years, according to an order issued by a bench of Justices N Kotiswar Singh and Malasri Nandi on December 3.

“However, the authorities are not taking any decision in this regard and the petitioners are languishing in jail,” the order said.

The petitioners had approached the High Court in June 2017 seeking either refugee status in India or deportation to Myanmar, reported the Hindustan Times. The matter has come up for hearing six times.

In its order on December 3, the High Court has posted the matter for hearing again on Thursday after the special counsel for foreigners’ tribunals in Assam sought some time to take instructions from the Assam government on the course of action for the petitioners.

There are over 16,000 Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar, currently living in India had who fled their country following instances of violence, the Hindustan Times reported citing the United Nations. However, it is estimated that the figure could be higher as many of them live in India with any documentation, according to the newspaper.

The Centre had announced in August 2017 that it was planning to deport all Rohingya refugees living in the country. The then Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had called them illegal immigrants, even those registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

The UN had criticised the decision, which was made when the Rohingya crisis was worsening in Myanmar.

In 2017, the Myanmar Army had cracked down on the Rohingyas, claiming that it was in retaliation to attacks by insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. The refugees have alleged that the crackdown included mass killings and rape.

The Rohingyas who fled to India are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-National Capital Region and Rajasthan.