Prashant Bhushan had filed an interim application before the Supreme Court of India on March 11, seeking directions to the Modi government to release the illegal Rohingya immigrants detained in Jammu. The interim application had also sought directions to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assess the protection needs of the illegal immigrants and grant refugee cards not only to Rohingyas but to all refugees across the country. Further, the government of Jammu and Kashmir and MHA have also been asked to be directed by the Supreme Court to grant refugee identification cards to Rohingyas through the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
Finally, the main demand of the application remains that 150 illegal Rohingya immigrants, who have been detained in Jammu, are not deported back to Myanmar. However, the Modi government was very clear with regards to its stand on the matter. In an affidavit, while calling Rohingyas “absolutely illegal migrants” who posed “serious threats to the national security”, the Modi government on Friday said that India cannot become the “international capital of illegal migrants”.
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“The continuance of the illegal immigration of Rohingyas into India and their continued stay in India, apart from being absolutely illegal, is also found to be having serious national security ramifications and poses serious security threats,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court, while cautioning it against interfering in “diplomatic issues” since the same falls within the exclusive domain of the executive. Senior advocate Harish Salve, who represented the Jammu & Kashmir administration, cautioned the bench against “starting a dangerous trend” by interfering with a subject that is related to illegal migrants and diplomatic relations.
The Modi government also made it clear that Rohingyas are illegal immigrants, and those who have been apprehended will be deported to Myanmar once the government of Myanmar confirms their nationality. Importantly, the Modi government, in its affidavit filed before the top court, minced no words in saying that India is for Indians alone and not for illegal immigrants.
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“The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that India, as a sovereign nation, has the first and foremost Constitutional obligation and duty towards its citizens and to ensure that the demographic and social structure of the country is not changed to its detriment, the resulting socio-economic problems do not occur to the prejudice of the citizens and the resources of the nation are utilised to fulfil the fundamental rights of its own citizens and are not diverted to the detriment of the citizens, due to influx of illegal migrants into the territory of India,” the affidavit said.
The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on the application filed by Prashant Bhushan.
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