New Delhi: Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday said Rohingya Muslim refugees were a security concern for India and criticism of India’s treatment of the ethnic minority was a calibrated design to tarnish the country’s image.
“This chorus of branding India as villain on Rohingya issue is a calibrated design to tarnish India’s image. Such statements undermine India’s security,” Rijiju tweeted.
He flayed attempts to brand India as a “villain” on the issue. His comments came two days after United Nations human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein slammed attempts by India to deport Rohingyas to Myanmar.
“I deplore current measures in India to deport Rohingya at a time of such violence against them in their country. Some 40,000 Rohingya have settled in India and 16,000 of them have received refugee documentation. The Minister of State for Home Affairs has reportedly said that because India is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, the country can dispense with international law on the matter, together with basic human compassion. However, by virtue of customary law, its ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the obligations of due process and the universal principle of non-refoulement (a number of international instruments relating to refugees), India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations,” Hussein, while addressing the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, had said.
Reacting to Hussein’s statement, Rijiju said, “the United Nations and other international organisations do not understand the internal security or national security problems of India. India has been the most humane nation and we have asked the State governments to initiate action as per the established procedure. Rohingyas are still here.”
The union government is planning to deport Rohingya Muslims, who have come to India due to alleged persecution in Myanmar, as it considers them as illegal immigrants.
Earlier, Rijiju had said that India needed no lessons on how to accommodate refugees.
“We do not need lessons on how to treat refugees with compassion. The 40,000 Rohingyas who have entered India will be entitled to fair legal procedure. We are not going to shoot them nor we are planning to throw them in the ocean. India is not a signatory to UN human rights convention but still the country has been hosting millions of refugees,” he had said last week.
The Home Ministry has already warned state governments that Rohingyas could be vulnerable to recruitment by terror groups.