Stating that the issue of deportation of the Rohingya Muslims is of “great magnitude” and that the state has a big role to play in this, the Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing on the matter to November 21 but allowed the petitioners to approach it in case of any contingency.
“It is a large issue. A issue of great magnitude. Therefore, the state has a big role. The role of the state in such a situation has to be multipronged,” said the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
The apex court also underlined that there was a need for holistic hearing and that it is neither going to be swayed by the arguments of senior lawyer Fali S Nariman, who is representing the petitioners, nor by any other senior counsel and the submissions have to go by the letter of the law. “We will not permit any emotional arguments,” the bench observed.
The latest development comes nearly three months after the Union Home Ministry stated that illegal immigrants such as Rohingyas pose security challenges as they may be recruited by terror groups. In July, the ministry had directed state governments to set up a task force at the district level to identify and deport illegally staying foreign nationals.
On August 9, the government told Parliament that more than 14,000 Rohingya registered with UNHCR are in India, as per available data. Around 40,000 Rohingya are residing in India illegally, as per some inputs. They are largely located in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.
In September, the government informed the apex court that the “illegal” influx of Rohingya was “seriously harming national security of the country”. India also told the United Nations Human Rights Council that the prevailing situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state should be handled with “restraint” and focus on the “welfare of the civilian population”.
Over 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed over to Bangladesh since late August after Myanmar security forces retailiated to militant attacks with a broad crackdown that allegedly included killing and arson.
With PTI inputs