Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the Aam Aadmi Party-led government will not let Rohingya refugees settle in the national capital.
His comments came hours after the home ministry contradicted a Union minister’s statement promising flats and security to members of the Muslim minority who have fled persecution in Myanmar.
“The Delhi government is clear that Rohingyas will not be allowed to illegally settle in Delhi and will oppose this move with all its might,” Sisodia said, reported The Times of India. “We will not compromise on the security of this nation and its people.”
Hardeep Singh Puri, Union minister for housing and urban affairs, had earlier on Wednesday announced that Rohingya refugees will be shifted to flats designated for economically weaker sections in Delhi’s Bakkarwala and provided basic amenities along with round-the-clock police protection.
But, hours after Puri’s announcement, the office of Home Minister Amit Shah denied that the government had taken any such decision.
A statement from the home ministry said that “illegal foreigners” should be kept in detention centres according to the law. The ministry directed the Delhi government to designate the location where the refugees were staying as a detention centre. On Wednesday evening, Puri tweeted the home ministry’s statement saying that it was the correct position on the matter.
Hindutva supporters claim that the members of the persecuted Muslim minority are illegal infiltrators who often commit violent crimes. However, there is no evidence to back these claims.
At a press conference later, Sisodia accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government of “conspiring to illegally settle” the refugees, PTI reported.
The AAP leader claimed that the Centre had framed the proposal with the city’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, adding that the Delhi government was not kept in the loop. He dubbed the home ministry’s statement as a “U-turn” after the party faced criticism over its decision.
“The file notings on this issue clearly show how officers were instructed to send it directly to the LG, bypassing the elected government of Delhi,” Sisodia claimed.
He said the Delhi government went into “sheer shock” after it heard the news.
Rohingyas a threat to security, says BJP
The BJP, however, blamed the AAP government claiming that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was playing the politics of appeasement by ignoring the national security to settle the Rohingyas, reported PTI.
Describing the Rohingyas as a threat to national security, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia asked why during a meeting chaired by Delhi chief secretary on July 29, “a hasty decision was taken that all these infiltrators would be shifted to the houses” being built for the economically weaker section category.
He said that the Modi government has a clear policy that Rohingyas will be deported and asserted that there will be no compromise on national security.
Deport Rohingyas, says VHP
Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad expressed shock at Puri’s announcement, reported The Tribune.
Alok Kumar, the working president of the Hindutva outfit, said that the organisation wants to remind Puri about the statement made by Shah in Parliament in 2020 declaring that Rohingyas would never be accepted in India.
Kumar alleged that Rohingyas are not refugees but infiltrators and this had been the consistent stand of the Centre, including in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
“The fact that the Hindu refugees from Pakistan continue to live in abysmal conditions at Majnu-ka-Tila in Delhi makes the move deplorable,” he said.
Kumar also asked the Union government to deport the Rohingyas instead of promising them flats.
Since 2017, Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar in large numbers when the Army cracked down on them, 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.
In Delhi, the Rohingyas currently live in a refugee colony in Madanpur Khadar village of Kalindi Kunj area.