Rohingyas aren't refugees, they are illegal immigrants: Rajnath Singh
Reiterating that Rohingya Muslims would be deported, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said they aren't refugees, but illegal immigrants. "The issue of Rohingya deportation isn't about ego and confrontation, but principles," he said. "When Myanmar has no problem in taking them back, why are some (in India) objecting?" Interestingly, he was speaking at an NHRC event; NHRC has protested the decision.
The Rohingyas are an ethnic Muslim group who constitute around one million of Myanmar's predominantly Buddhist 50 million population. They speak a Bengali dialect, mainly reside in the country's impoverished northern Rakhine state. Myanmar views them as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and doesn't officially recognize them as its Citizens, rendering them stateless. The Rohingyas have allegedly been subjected to human rights abuses by Myanmar.
Several rights groups have accused Myanmar of mounting a genocide against the Rohingyas, a charge Myanmar denies. To flee persecution, thousands of Rohingyas have fled Myanmar for neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh (where around 3 lakh Rohingyas reside), Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and India.
Rohingyas residing in India have been recognized by the UN Human Rights Commission as 'refugees'. India however doesn't accept this recognition and considers them foreigners living in the country illegally. As per the Foreigners Act, this provides grounds for their detection, arrest, prosecution and deportation. In April'17, the Home Ministry said it is working to identify 40,000 Rohingyas and deport or arrest them.
Responding to objections, Rajnath said, "The non-refoulement principle (that protesters quote) is applicable to those who take asylum. No Rohingya has got asylum in India nor have they applied for it." "Those who, in the name of human rights, are expressing concern on the rights of others should bother first for the rights of Indian citizens." India hasn't violated any international law, he added.