Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that the Centre has ordered all state governments to collect the personal data of Rohingya Muslim refugees and keep track of their movements, so they can be deported to Myanmar, PTI reported.

“The Centre has directed the states to be cautious. The states have been directed to observe their movements,” he said. “They should not get documents that could help them prove they are Indian citizens.”

After states provide the requisite details, the Centre will take up the matter with the Myanmar government through diplomatic channels, Singh said. He was speaking at a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kerala state council in Kochi.

Earlier this year, the Centre asked all states to ensure that police or intelligence agencies monitor the activities of undocumented immigrants, including Rohingya, and restrict them to specified locations. The Ministry of Home Affairs directed state governments to review steps taken to prevent the entry of undocumented immigrants.

Singh also asked Opposition parties not to turn the issue of national security into a political one. “The presence of Rohingya is confined not only to the northeastern states,” he said. “They have reached south Indian states, including Kerala.”

At a recent seminar organised by the National Human Rights Commission, Singh questioned why some citizens had raised objections to the deportation of Rohingya when Myanmar was willing to take them back. “The home ministry has clarified its position through its affidavit [in the Supreme Court] that these are illegal immigrants and they will be deported,” he said. “The Rohingya are not refugees.”

Last year, Singh had said that immigration of Rohingya Muslims into India could threaten national security. He had also asserted that New Delhi will not violate any international law if it were to deport the 40,000 Rohingyas from India, as it is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.