Indian court allows deportation of seven Rohingya to Myanmar


The individuals also requested in 2016 that Embassy of Myanmar should issue them relevant travel documents to facilitate their return to their country, the MEA said.

The decision to press ahead with the deportation of seven Rohingya, who entered Assam illegally in 2012, came even as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was on a visit to India. Myanmar identified them as its citizens and issued them certificates to facilitate their travel to their hometowns in Rakhine state, the ministry added.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.

A plea, filed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, sought urgent hearing seeking restraint on the Centre's move to deport seven Rohingya Muslims, who were lodged in the Silchar Detention centre in Assam, back to Myanmar. CJI Gogoi said: "Mr Counsel, we are aware of our responsibilities". Despite its constitutional and global obligations, the Centre failed to protect the Rohingya refugees by proposing to deport the community to Myanmar where they face serious persecution, added the plea.

Consular access had been given to Myanmar diplomats, who confirmed the identity of the immigrants, Mahanta said. They were initially arrested and jailed at the Silchar central prison in Assam in 2012 charged with irregular entry, according to India's Ministry of External Affairs.

A large number of Rohingya refugees, since then, have taken shelter in India and Bangladesh, and are staying in refugee camps, often raising security concerns.

Ground reality of Rohingya refugee camps at Madanpur Khadar in Delhi.———–ANINDYA CHATTOPADHYAY
Ground reality of Rohingya refugee camps at Madanpur Khadar in Delhi.———–ANINDYA CHATTOPADHYAY

An official at the Myanmar Embassy in New Delhi told The Indian Express that the men were detained on arrival in the "illegal migrant case" for verification, and would be allowed to go back to their villages.

Bhushan said it is a matter of life and it is the court's responsibility to see that the lives of Rohingya are protected. Bhushan had opposed the government's contention that the men were "illegal immigrants" and said that they had fled a genocide allegedly carried out by the Myanmarese military and were refugees according to the UN.

A United Nations special rapporteur had warned India risked breaking global laws on refoulement - the return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they could be harmed.

A United Nations report in August accused the Myanmar military of committing mass killings and rapes on the Rohingya with "genocidal intent" a year ago in an operation that forced more than 700,000 of them to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

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 worldwide law.

Human rights group Amnesty International has blamed Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the country's government for "burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State".

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