The Supreme Court on Thursday, 8 April, refused to order the release Rohingya refugees who had been detained in Jammu, while adding that they will be deported back to Myanmar, only if the “procedure prescribed for their deportation” is followed.
Pronouncing its verdict on a plea filed by one Mohammad Salimullah, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna, and V Ramasubramanian, refused to set around 150 Rohingyas free, those who had been detained across ‘holding centres’ in Jammu.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners said that the Rohingyas had fled persecution from the army during civil rule and would pose danger if they were deported back to Myanmar when the country is under a Military junta.
Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union government, had refused to call the Rohingya refugees, instead said that they were “illegal migrants.”
Illegal Immigrants, Not Refugees: Centre
The Union government also said that the Rohingya posed “serious threats to national security”, while adding that the right to settle in India could not be claimed by “illegal immigrants” under Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and liberty.
The government also said that India cannot become “the international capital of illegal immigrants”.
Following instructions from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had initiated a verification drive of the Rohingya people in the region, following which some were moved to a ‘holding centre’.
Out of about 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India, 7,000 are in Jammu and Kashmir, where they had started settling since 2000, fleeing persecution from Myanmar.