The police have sent the men, who are from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to the border in Manipur, an official told Reuters. The men were in Silchar central prison since 2012 for illegally crossing the border. They are likely to be handed over to Myanmar authorities on Thursday, PTI reported.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan sought to mention a plea on the matter before new Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. “They will be killed if that [deportation] happens,” Live Law quoted him as saying. This was an apparent reference to a remark by Gogoi earlier in the day when he said he would allow urgent hearing of cases only if someone was being “killed, hanged or evicted”. After taking oath on Wednesday, Gogoi said he would not allow urgent mentioning of cases till he decides the parameters for it.
On Tuesday, a United Nations human rights expert expressed alarm at the government’s decision to deport the seven men. Tendayi Achiume, the UN special rapporteur on racism, said the forcible return could constitute violation of international law.
“Given the ethnic identity of the men, this is a flagrant denial of their right to protection and could amount to refoulement,” said Achiume. “The Indian government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection.”
She said she was appalled about the length of their detention because they did not receive adequate legal counsel. “Prolonged detention of this kind is prohibited,” said Achiume. “It could be considered arbitrary, and could even fall under the category of inhuman and degrading treatment.”
On Wednesday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged India to support Bangladesh in providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community and influence Myanmar to bring about reconciliation. Guterres is on a three-day visit to India.
In August 2017, India announced that it was planning to deport all 40,000 Rohingya refugees in the country. The Supreme Court is still hearing a petition against that order. The court has said no Rohingya refugee should be deported until it decides on the matter.