Infiltration through the country’s “porous border” is the “root cause” of spread of terrorism in India, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday and urged the court to leave the issue of securing the country’s border to the executive. The Centre also rejected charges that Border Security Force personnel are using “chilli and stun grenades” to turn away Rohingya refugees.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in an affidavit filed before the apex court in the Rohingya matter, “India is already facing serious problem of infiltration because of its porous border with other countries, which is the root cause of spread of terrorism in the country, which is taking thousands of lives…. Securing the borders of any sovereign nation, in accordance with law, is an executive function and this Hon’ble Court would not issue a writ directing not only the Central Government, but all State Governments having a common border, to ensure that foreigners enter the territory of India.”
Responding to a petition filed by two Rohingya refugees who accused the BSF of using chilli and stun grenades to push back refugees at the border, the affidavit said the MHA had sought a report from the BSF following this and found that the charges were “false, incorrect and far from truth.” The MHA stated, “it is submitted that no such devices are used either as alleged or otherwise.”
The BSF was “performing its duties in challenging circumstances to (a) promote a sense of security among the people living in the border areas, (b) ensure the security of the nation by preventing unauthorised entry into or exit from the territory of India and (c) prevent trans-border crimes including smuggling and other illegal activity”, the Centre submitted.
The affidavit stated, “all agencies tasked with the function of guarding the borders of our nations are discharging their duties strictly in accordance with law and complying with the human rights in larger national interests.”
The government contended that “steps taken by any border guarding force is strictly in accordance with the law, in larger public interest, and in the interest of nation”. The Centre also opposed the plea that the Rohingya may be treated like Sri Lankan Tamil refugees here, and said the comparison was “ill-founded and misconceived”. It said certain relief facilities to the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees has its genesis in the Indo-Ceylon agreement of 1964.
The MHA affidavit stated that as regards refugees who have already entered the country, there was no reported case of denial or medical help or education. The petitioners had approached the apex court opposing the Centre’s decision to deport over 40,000 refugees who entered India after fleeing the communal violence in Myanmar.