Don't want India to become refugee capital: Centre to Supreme Court

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"Indian security forces push back Rohingya refugees using chilli and stun grenades", he said.

On petition challenging the deportation of almost 40,000 illegal Rohingya immigrants back to Myanmar, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it could not allow India to become the "world's refugee capital". While batting for their rights, the NHRC sought for protection of Rohingya refugees in India including access of their children to schools and other facilities. "Don't want India to become a refugee capital", Mehta remarked.

Bangladesh has accepted over 8 lakh Rohingya refugees since the ethnic clashes began in Rakhine state a year ago.

Bhushan, appearing for Rohingya petitioner Mohammad Salimullah, said that pushing back Rohingya refugees, who are fleeing their country to save their lives, was in breach of the global conventions on refugees.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said it will hear what the government has to say on the matter.

Bhushan, who appears for Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, the main petitioners who have challenged the Centre's decision to deport Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar, told the bench that 20 per cent of Rohingyas who were facing threats of persecution and genocide were still left in Myanmar. "Applying to people already here is understandable".

Meanwhile, appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested the court to not meddle in as the "constitutionally empowered executive was seized of the matter and the diplomatic process is on to deal with the situation".The Rohingya immigrants, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine state of Myanmar, have settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Union government to respond to a plea by a group of Rohingya Muslims that security forces were blocking their entry into the country from Myanmar.

Bhushan replied that pushing back is also a violation of the principle.

Bhushan however pointed out that the Centre has a policy to welcome Hindu, Sikh and others, but not the Muslims from other nations.

The MHA said several fundamental rights of genuine citizens of the country will be affected if such illegal migrants are allowed to settle wherever they liked in India.

Represented by senior advocate, Gopal Subramanium, the NHRC said that the refugees had the right to approach the Supreme Court to secure their basic rights such as education, health care and security. Can the SC test the government's policy decision?

The CJI-led bench had, earlier, dismissed the appeal of government to allow the matter to be handled exclusively by the executive.

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