NEW DELHI: The Centre Monday told the Supreme Court that Rohingya Muslims had links with the Islamic State and Pakistani spy agency ISI and allowing them to stay on in India would pose “serious security threats”.Arguing for their deportation in an affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre said the fundamental right to settle in any part of the country and move freely throughout was available only to citizens. “No illegal immigrant can pray for a writ of this Court which directly or indirectly confers the fundamental rights in general,” the affidavit said.
“It is submitted that continuance of Rohingyas’ illegal immigration into India and their continued stay in India, apart from being absolutely illegal, is found to be having serious national security ramifications and has serious security threats.”The Centre said that since India was not a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951, the obligations concerned to non-refoulement were not applicable.
The Home Ministry’s 15-page affidavit was filed in response to a plea by Rohingya immigrants Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, both of whom are registered refugees under the United Nations High Commission of Refugees. Their plea claimed they had taken refuge in India after escaping violence, bloodshed and discrimination in Myanmar. Since India was a signatory to various conventions prohibiting deportation of refugees to a country where they may face threat to their lives, the Rohingyas should be allowed to stay on, the petition said.
Though a team of senior lawyers, including Fali S Nariman, Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan, argued for the petitioners before the bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, the court said it “will only go by law and petitioners must now go through the affidavit filed by the government”.
According to the affidavit, Rohingya Muslims were a drain on India’s resources and posed a serious security threat to it.
“The Centre has inputs from intelligence agencies about links of some Rohingya Muslims with Pakistan’s ISI and global terror network IS to spread violence in India,” the affidavit said.The Centre said there was an organised network of touts in Myanmar, West Bengal and Tripura facilitating the Rohingya influx. “India has open/porous borders with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar... making it vulnerable to a continuous threat of influx of illegal immigration and problems arising therefrom.” “The organised Rohingya Muslim influx started in 2012 and their number is around 40,000 now,” additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta told the bench. The affidavit said militant elements among the Rohingyas were active in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mewar and Jammu.
Extracts from the Centre’s affidavit in the SC
Vulnerable to infiltrations
…so far as India is concerned, national security considerations rank the highest on country’s list of priorities given its geopolitical influence in the region and its vulnerability to cross border infiltrations due to the porous nature of its borders which our country shares with many countries.
Policy decisions by the government
Whenever the country faces a problem of influx of illegal immigrants, the Central Government, in exercise of its executive functions, takes policy decision depending upon several facts, parameters, diplomatic and other considerations, potential dangers to the nation etc … When such decisions are taken to protect and preserve the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country and on consideration of various non-justiciable factors, this Hon’ble Court may not invoke its jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution of India