For first time, India deports 7 Rohingya immigrants to Myanmar
jkupdate.com | 04-Oct-2018 04:22 AM
  • The Supreme Court rejected the plea made by one of the Rohingya refugees seeking to restrain the Centre from deporting them to Myanmar.

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday deported seven Rohingya immigrants, who have been staying in Assam illegally, to their country of origin Myanmar, in a first such move.

The illegal immigrants were detained in 2012 and since then they had been lodged in Cachar Central Jail in Assam's Silchar.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court rejected the plea made by one of the Rohingya refugees seeking to restrain the Centre from deporting them to Myanmar.

The dismissal order came after Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the seven Rohingyas -- who entered India in 2012 -- were convicted under the Foreigners Act and detained at Silchar detention centre.

They were deported through the border point at Moreh in Imphal.
Mehta said Myanmar has accepted these Rohingyas as its citizens and agreed to take them back and that was why Indian Government was facilitating their repatriation.

On behalf of the petitioner, advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged that the seven Rohingyas were being sent back to Myanmar under coercion.

Bhushan said the Bench should ask UNHCR to talk to them to find out if they we're willing to go back to Myanmar, which forced them to flee to their own country.

As the top court dismissed the plea, Bhushan said the court must realise its responsibility to protect right to life of Rohingyas.

"We are fully aware of our reaponsibility towards right to life and no one needs to remind us about our responsibilities," said CJI Gogoi.

A fresh plea filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday had sought to restrain the Centre from deporting to Myanmar seven Rohingyas lodged in a detention centre at Silchar in Assam.

"We will peruse the file and the decide," the CJI had said on Wednesday refusing to take it up immediately when Bhushan had sought urgent hearing.

The top court is already seized of a PIL filed earlier by two Rohingya immigrants -- Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir -- challenging the Centre's decision to deport over 40,000 Rohingyas   who illegally entered India after escaping alleged state violence against them in Myanmar.

The Rohingyas, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine State of Myanmar, are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan and the Centre has raised security concerns regarding their links with Pakistan-based terror groups. 

The now dismissed plea had said that the decision to deport was in "grave violation" of India's international obligation and moreover, the situation in Myanmar was extremely dangerous for the Rohingyas to return and they are likely to be subjected to torture and even killed.

"Pass an order restraining the Union of India from taking any steps towards the deportation of any Rohingya refugees lodged in jails or detention centres in Assam or other parts of the country in contravention of non-derogable principles of customary international law and during the pendency if the case," the plea said.

Issue direction to officials of prison at Silchar Central jail in Assam and Union Home Ministry to "allow and facilitate the detenues in question as a well as other detenues on other prisons in Assam to approach the UNHCR in New Delhi to determine/ascertain if they are in need of international protection as refugees within its mandate and for grant of refugee identification cards," it said.

The plea also referred to alarm raised by United Nations Human Rights expert over the proposed deportation of seven Rohingya to Myanmar, saying their forcible return could constitute "refoulement" which was violative of international law.

Earlier, the apex court had appointed area Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDMs) as nodal officers who could be approached by the Rohingya immigrants living at Kalindi Kunj in Delhi and Mewat in Haryana with grievances relating to health care, water, sanitation and education.

Out of the two PILs, one challenged the Centre's decision to deport over 40,000 refugees who came to India, while the other has sought several human and civic rights for the immigrants here.

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