The Centre does not have a concrete plan yet on deporting Rohingya refugees from the country, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told The Hindu on Monday. He said that so far, it had only asked state governments to identify the illegal immigrants, and that India has “always accepted refugees” as it considered humanitarian concerns a priority.

Rijiju’s statement came after the United Nations human rights commissioner’s criticism of India’s plans to deport the Rohingyas. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Monday said that he “deplored the current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country [Myanmar]”.

The Union minister said state governments had been asked to take action against the refugees as per the law. “The United Nations and other international organisations do not understand the internal security or national security problems of India,” Rijiju told The Hindu. “India has been the most humane nation...They [the Rohingyas] are still here.”

On September 5, Rijiju had said the government had set up a task force in various states to identify and deport Rohingya refugees in India. Around 40,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees live in India across Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Delhi.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan had appealed at the Supreme Court against the order on behalf of two Rohingya refugees. The matter will be heard next on September 18.

The Rohingya crisis

Rohingyas have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants, despite them claiming roots going back centuries in the country. 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 10 lakh stateless Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.