Twenty-three Rohingya awaiting deportation to Myanmar are part of a group of 32 individuals who entered India illegally in 2012 and were arrested, officials said.
The official said that while two of them (reportedly Hindus) were deported early this year, seven Rohingya were sent back early this month. All of them were convicted for violation of Passport (Entry into India) Act and have completed their jail terms.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Assam Additional Director General of Police (Border) Bhaskar J Mahanta said, “We keep sending people of different countries. This is a usual exercise.” He said the Supreme Court had refused to intervene in the matter when seven Rohingya were deported early this month.
Giving details about the 23 Rohingya, Home Ministry officials said that the details of these illegal migrants had been shared with Myanmar through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and their response was awaited.
There are more than 900 inmates lodged in the six detention camps in Assam, of whom most have been “declared foreigners” by the Foreigners Tribunals across the state. There are also a few who accept that they are foreigners and have an address in their native country, but are “convicted” of overstaying illegally, committing offences or violation of Passport (Entry into India) Act and are mostly from Bangladesh, officials added.
The Centre has taken a tough stand on deportation of illegal migrants and said the principle of non-refoulement is not applicable to Rohingya since they have not taken asylum in India nor applied for it. Recently, Home Minister Rajnath Singh justified the action on Rohingya and said they cannot be termed refugees because they had entered India illegally.
According to the MHA, there are nearly 14,000 Rohingya presently registered with UNHCR and staying in India. Indian agencies estimate that there are around 40,000 Rohingya who are staying in India illegally, mostly in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, UP, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.