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In A First, Assam Govt To Deport Seven Rohingya Immigrants To Myanmar

05 October 2018

India's top court on Thursday allowed the first deportations of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar since the federal government ordered their identification past year. 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.

Having considered the prayer, we would not like to interfere with the decision taken.

CJI Gogoi observed that according to the affidavit submitted by the GOI, the seven individuals in question were found to be illegal immigrants as well as convicts under the Foreigners Act.

They were concentrated in Rakhine state, the epicenter of a Myanmar army offensive that over the past year has driven 700,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh.

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

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph said that even the country of their origin Myanmar has identified them and accepted them as its citizens.

Amid appeals to India from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to not send back Rohingya to Myanmar, India deported seven Rohingya Muslims who were in India since 2012 and served jail terms for illegal entry.

Those deported were Md Jamal, Mohbul Khan, Jamal Hussain, Md Yonus, Sabir Ahmed, Rahim Uddin and Md Salam - all in the 26-32 year age bracket and were handed over to the authorities of Myanmar at Moreh border post in Manipur.

The interim plea, seeking urgent measures to stop the proposed deportation of seven Rohingya, was filed on a pending PIL.

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

The UN had voiced concern that returning the men ignored the danger they faced in Myanmar, where for decades the Rohingya have been targeted in violent pogroms by security forces.

Legal efforts to stymie their deportation failed when the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a petition on their behalf and upheld their status as illegal immigrants. They were arrested in 2012 for entering India illegally and have been held in prison since then.

Consular access had been given to Myanmar diplomats, who confirmed the identity of the immigrants, Mahanta said.

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The petitioners' counsel Prashant Bhushan told the bench, as it started to dictate the order, that it was the court's responsibility to protect the Rohingya. "First, all immigration formalities were completed on the Indian side and we met the Myanmarese authorities at the immigration office near no-man's land".

Amnesty India criticized the government's decision and said the seven men were at grave risk of being subjected to serious human rights violations by the Myanmar government. State governments have been told to identify illegal Rohingya. An estimation of 40,000 Rohingya's has been living in India as illegal immigrants over the period of years, as reported by The New York Times.

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In A First, Assam Govt To Deport Seven Rohingya Immigrants To Myanmar