Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said it was clear that the Union home ministry makes ad hoc decisions that are often politically motivated when it comes to deciding who should be a refugee, reported ANI.
“The government’s position is enabled by the fact that we don’t have a refugee and asylum law,” Tharoor said. “I’ve proposed such a law repeatedly.”
The statement came a day after Hardeep Singh Puri, Union minister for housing and urban affairs, had 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 Union 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.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government has faced criticism for the earlier announcement of settling Rohingyas.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the Aam Aadmi Party-led government will not let Rohingya refugees settle in the national capital.
“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. “We will not compromise on the security of this nation and its people.”
Sisodia also accused the the Centre of “conspiring to illegally settle” the refugees.
The Aam Aadmi Party 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 Vishwa Hindu Parishad also expressed shock at Puri’s announcement.
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.