New Delhi: Seven Rohingya Muslims held at a detention centre in Assam will be handed over to Myanmar after the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stop their deportation, saying that they were found to be illegal immigrants earlier by a court, media reports said.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogi, said, “We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken.”
This is the first case of Rohingiyas being deported to Myanmar, the country they had left in hordes following genocide and atrocities, allegedly sponsored by the state.
The Centre, in an affidavit, stated that the Rohingya were illegal immigrants and Myanmar had accepted them as citizens, which the top court accepted.
The seven immigrants who were lodged in Assam’s jail since 2012, will be handed over to the Myanmar authorities in Moreh border post in Manipur on Thursday..
Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan argued that the government’s move was against the UN charter. He also said it is the duty of this court to protect stateless citizens.
But the CJI shot back, telling Prashant Bhushan that he need not remind the judges of their responsibilities.
Tushar Mehta, the centre’s senior law officer, told the court that the Myanmar government had acknowledged that the seven were its nationals and given them a certificate of identity to facilitate their return.
New Delhi’s move has drawn criticism from the UN, which said their forcible return violates international law.
“The Indian Government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection,” UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said in a statement.
Around 40,000 Rohingya live in India after having fled persecution in Myanmar over the years. Around 16,000 of them are registered with the UN refugee agency.