Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia wrote a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday, 18 August, asking him to clarify the stand of the central government on the shifting of Rohingyas to flats meant for the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the outskirts of Delhi.
This comes a day after a mix up between the Home and Housing ministries, in which the former had contradicted Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri's claim that the Centre was planning to move Rohingyas to the flats for EWS.
Sisodia also asked who had taken the decision to settle Rohingyas in the national capital, and urged Shah to order a probe into the matter.
"We (Delhi government) didn't decide to. The Centre also says it didn't. Then who took the decision?" he asked while addressing a press conference.
Hours after Puri tweeted about the issue, Sisodia had alleged that the Centre was "conspiring" to "illegally" settle refugees in the national capital.
“As per the directions of the Centre, decisions were made by bureaucrats and the police, and approved by the Lieutenant Governor. The Chief Minister was not kept in the loop. The Delhi government will not let this conspiracy, to illegally settle Rohingya refugees in the city, succeed,” he added.
Sisodia also alleged that the Delhi Police and other officials had taken the decision to provide Rohingyas permanent residences in Delhi after being ordered to do so by the Lieutenant Governor, VK Saxena.
'Only AAP Can Indulge in Such Low-Level Politics': BJP's Gautam Gambhir
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gautam Gambhir slammed the AAP and accused them of indulging in low-level politics.
"Nobody can do politics as low as them. Only this party (AAP), this person can do this. There is a simple question and they should answer it - why was the letter which stated that Rohingyas should be given better accommodation and better facilities, written," Gambhir asked.
He also said that the BJP had clarified its stand on Rohingyas when Home Minister Amit Shah had stated in the Parliament that they should be deported.
"Our stand is very clear. The home minister had clarified on the floor of the House that we want to deport Rohingyas. That is the stand of our party. Delhi CM should be asked what his stand on Rohingyas is. When will he give an answer?" Gambhir was reported as saying by news agency ANI.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur, on the other hand, alleged that the Delhi government was planning to provide flats to Rohingyas.
"Rohingyas who live here and are illegal migrants are given free water, electricity, and ration. Now even flats were to be given to them by the Delhi government. They have lied again, distributed 'revdis,'" he said.
He also said that the AAP was willing to compromise on national security for vote bank politics, and echoed the stance of the home ministry that Rohingyas would not be given flats or citizenship.
"I'd like to clarify, the HMO has articulately said that the Rohingya illegal migrants won't be considered citizens of India. They will be sent back. MEA is in talks for the same. This is the last statement," Thakur asserted.
'MHA's Decisions on Refugees Politically Motivated': Tharoor
Further, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that he was "shocked" by the home ministry's statement, compared to Puri's.
"I'm frankly shocked by the attitude of Home Ministry in overruling what I believe is the right statement by Hardeep Puri," he said, according to news agency ANI.
Explaining his stance, Tharoor added that since Puri was India's ambassador at UNHCR, he "understands the duty to uphold principles of international law in keeping with India's long humanitarian tradition."
"We don't send refugees back to countries where they fear persecution," he said. "Government's position is enabled by the fact that we don't have a refugee & asylum law. I've proposed such a law repeatedly...but it's very clear that MHA prefers to make ad hoc decisions, often politically motivated when it comes to deciding who should/shouldn't be a refugee," Tharoor added.
(With inputs from ANI.)