Hours after Union housing minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced on Wednesday that Rohingya refugees would be shifted to flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi, the home ministry said that it has not made any such provisions.
In a series of tweets, the ministry said that the Delhi government had made a proposal to shift the Rohingya refugees living in the city to a new location.
However, the Delhi government has been asked to keep the refugees at their current location itself as the matter of their deportation to Myanmar is under process through the external affairs ministry, the home ministry said.
“Illegal foreigners are to be kept in detention centre till their deportation as per law,” the ministry also said. “The government of Delhi has not declared the present location as a detention centre. They have been directed to do the same immediately.”
The home ministry’s stance on the matter comes as a U-turn because earlier on Wednesday morning, Puri had said in a tweet that all Rohingya refugees will be shifted to flats designated for economically weaker sections in Delhi’s Bakkarwala.
In what he described as a “landmark decision”, Puri had also also announced that basic amenities, identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and round-the-clock police protection will be provided to the refugees.
On Wednesday evening, Puri tweeted a press release of the home ministry’s statement describing it as the “correct position”. In this tweet, Puri also referred to Rohingyas as “illegal foreigners” and not “refugees” as he had said in his post in the morning.
In 2017, the Myanmar Army had cracked down on the Rohingya community, claiming that it was in retaliation to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army insurgent group. The refugees have alleged that the crackdown included mass killings and rape.
Since then thousands of Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh and India. In Delhi, the Rohingyas currently live in a refugee colony in Madanpur Khadar village of Kalindi Kunj area.