Varun Gandhi contradicts BJP's stand on asylum for Rohingya refugees
BJP's Varun Gandhi, Sultanpur MP, in a Navbharat Times editorial wrote that Rohingya refugees should not be deported but should be given humane treatment. This invoked a sharp reaction from MoS Home Hansraj Ahir who said that "the statement is against national interest." He also said the government is stopping Rohingyas from settling in India as they are a "security threat." Know more!
What else did Varun Gandhi say?
Varun referred to international sources that state that Rohingyas have been victims of foreign policy and domestic politics. In contrast to the government's policy that they are not bound by any international laws, like the 1951 Refugee Convention, to provide asylum, Varun said that the government has signed the SAARC Terrorism Protocol treaty, under which they can't deport anyone persecuted due to their faith.
After being pulled up by Ahir, Varun tweeted his "clarification"
After Ahir disapproved of his views, Varun clarified through Twitter that he was mainly "defining India's asylum policy, with clear demarcations on how we would accept refugees." Regarding Rohingyas, he said that they should be considered for asylum after "vetting each applicant for national security concerns."
What is the government's position on Rohingyas?
In an affidavit submitted to the SC, the BJP-led government has called Rohingyas a "security threat." Rajnath Singh had said that they are not refugees or asylum seekers, but "illegal immigrants." News 18 reports that the government alleges that they have links with ISIS and al Qaeda. In its National Executive meet, BJP adopted a resolution supporting the government's stance of deporting Rohingyas.
Meanwhile, Varun has not toed the party's line before
Varun has taken a different stance than his party before. In May, he claimed that since 2001, governments had waived loans of about Rs. 3L cr for industrial houses. He questioned these waivers when there were so many "farmer suicides," citing the protests of Tamil Nadu farmers at Jantar Mantar. He also questioned the Centre's decision of allowing raises to parliamentarians.