Ethnic violence

Supreme Court asks Centre why it wants to deport Rohingya refugees

A Home Ministry letter to state governments had said refugees were a potential security threat and burden on resources.

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre for a detailed reply on why it planned to deport thousands of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

In August, the Ministry of Home Affairs had sent a letter to state governments asking them to identify and deport all illegal immigrants, including Rohingya refugees. The letter said the refugees were a potential security threat and a burden on resources.

On September 1, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea against the deportation of the Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar on several grounds, including violation of international human rights conventions.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, considered the submissions of lawyer Prashant Bhushan that the plea required urgent hearing. The government now has to file a reply in the Supreme Court on the matter. The next hearing is on September 11.

The Army had said there have been at least 90 clashes, including 30 attacks by insurgents, since August 25. Over the weekend, thousands of Rohingya people crossed by boat and on foot into Bangladesh, fleeing violence in western Myanmar, the UNHCR said, according to AP.

The crisis

The Rohingya have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants, despite them claiming roots that go back centuries. The community has been subjected to violence by the Buddhist majority and the Army in Myanmar. The country’s de-facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticised for failing to stand up for more than 1 million stateless Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.

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