Are Rohingyas really a threat to national security?


The presence of illegal Rohingya Muslims in parts of India came to the fore after the union home ministry in July had said illegal immigrants like the Rohingyas pose grave security challenges as they may be recruited by terror groups and asked state governments to identify and deport them.

Earlier, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also termed Rohingya Muslims a threat to national security.

Two Rohingya immigrants had recently filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the government's orders of deportation. However, the language of the final affidavit is likely to be "minimally altered" keeping in mind the global reaction that India's effort to banish refugees of the persecuted ethnic minority back to a country where their brethren are being mercilessly butchered by the Junta is likely to attract.

In a bluntly worded affidavit submitted in Supreme Court, the government on Thursday has made it clear that it is against staying of Rohingya Muslims as illegal refugees in India. At least 1,25,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar's western state of Rakhine to adjacent Bangladesh after the military cracked down on Rohingya insurgents who attacked an army base and dozens of police posts.

The Modi government is firm in its stand that it won't allow the illegal migrants to stay back in India. "It undermines India's security", Rijiju tweeted. In its affidavit given to the apex court, the Foreigners' Division of the home ministry emphasised that there have been intelligence reports that some Rohingyas are involved in militancy and are very active in places such as Delhi, Jammu, Hyderabad and Mewat.

Rohingya Muslims who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh walk towards the nearest refugee camp at Teknaf
Are Rohingyas really a threat to national security?

India now has about 40,000 Rohingyas who have escaped in recent years from the rising violence against them in Myanmar and entered the country through the North East border.

Aid programmes for the Rohingya by the United Nations agencies and global NGOs in northern Rakhine have either been suspended or severely interrupted, but some help is being delivered by the government and through the Red Cross, he added.

Analysts said India can not avoid taking a strong stand on a humanitarian cause if it wants to be taken seriously as a candidate for a seat in the United Nations Security Council.

Government sources also say that that the Rohingyas need to be deported, keeping in mind certain strategic reasons.

The views of Centre were endorsed by former ambassador to Bangladesh, Veena Sikri, who said the decision to deport the Rohingyas is justified if viewed from the perspective of national security. Detection and deportation of such illegal immigrants from Myanmar's violence-hit Rakhine state is a continuous process, the Home Ministry communication to states said.