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Plea in SC seeks release of Rohingya detained in J&K

Though there can be national security exceptions to the non-refoulement rule, “any” such “exception” “must be rigorously and carefully proved”, the plea said.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 12, 2021 2:10:54 am

An application has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the release of Rohingya refugees detained by the administration in Jammu and Kashmir and directions to the Centre not to deport them back to Myanmar.

The plea by Mohammed Salimullah — a Rohingya refugee — and filed through Advocate Prashant Bhushan said “these refugees have been illegally detained and jailed in the Jammu Sub Jail which has been converted into a holding centre with the IGP (Jammu) Mukesh Singh stating that they face deportation back to Myanmar following verification by their embassy”.

Referring to reports of their “imminent…deportation”, the plea said, “This goes against India’s commitment to refugee protection and its obligations against refouling refugees to a place where they face persecution and is a violation of the Article 21 rights of all Rohingya persons living in India.”

Though there can be national security exceptions to the non-refoulement rule, “any” such “exception” “must be rigorously and carefully proved”, the plea said.

Pointing out that India has given refugee status to Tibetans and Sri Lankans, the plea claimed that the proposed policy vis-a-vis Rohingya is “discriminatory because the only credible explanation available for the capricious volte-face is that Rohingya are mostly Muslim…”.

The plea said the argument of national security is being raised against the Rohingya “as a bogeyman to assert that” they “are all terrorists, though Union and State Government statements clearly indicate this is not true”.

The plea urged the court to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to expeditiously grant refugee identification cards through the FRRO for the Rohingya in the informal camps. It also wants the court to direct the United Nations High Commission for Refugees “to intervene and determine the protection needs of the Rohingya refugees not just in the Jammu but also in camps across the country and complete the process of granting them Refugee cards”.

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