Supreme Court to hear plea challenging deportation of Rohingya illegal immigrants today

In a written submission to the Supreme Court today defending its move to deport them, the centre said that the refugees from Myanmar are a "very serious and potential threat to national security".

The apex court is hearing a plea against the government's decision to deport the refugees to Myanmar.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 15 September said that the government would inform the Supreme Court on its stand on the Rohingya immigrants on 18 September.

However, the affidavit filed on Monday asserts that: "illegal influx of Rohingyas, in significant numbers, have started into the territory of India since 2012-13 and the Central Government has contemporaneous from security agencies inputs and other authentic material indicating linkages of some of the unauthorised Rohingya immigrants with Pakistan based terror organisations and similar organisations operating in other countries".

"The government has made a mention of these things [security threats] without providing any evidence for the same", Bhushan said, adding that under the Refugee Convention protection could be withdrawn from refugees suspected of militant activities.

The Indian government told the court that it had intelligence data that showed links between some Rohingya Muslims and Pakistan-based terror groups and other global terror organizations.

"But you can not say that merely because there are some inputs which suggest terrorist organizations are trying to radicalize them etcetera, therefore we will ignore human rights or rights under various global conventions", he added.

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The top court had asked the government to file the affidavit on a plea against the deportation of illegal Rohingya Muslims coming in the country from Myanmar. "No illegal immigrant can pray for a writ of this Court which directly or indirectly confer the fundamental rights in general.", the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

The plea against deportations was filed by Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, both of whom are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Human Rights Watch urged India, the world's biggest democracy, to follow the worldwide principle of non-refoulement which prohibits sending back refugees to a place where their lives are in danger.

The plea against deportations was based on grounds of violation of conventions of global human rights. NHRC had strongly supported the Rohingya Muslims.

The government estimate puts the figure of Rohingya refugees living in India beyond 40,000 with maximum concentration in and around Jammu.

The Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar for decades.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud directed the hearing for October as the Centre told the bench that they would be filing their response during the day.

  • Megan Austin