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NDA government looking at foreigners’ permanent stay in India through prism of religion: Owaisi

Responding to a question on Rohingya, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi asked why was the issue being looked through religious prism when the Modi government had amended the Foreigners Act wherein they had said if a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Christian coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh without valid papers or a passport will be given exemption.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2017 23:43 IST
Press Trust of India, Hyderabad
NDA government,Foreigners' issue,Rohingya
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi. (HT File Photo)

In the backdrop of the Rohingya issue, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi alleged on Thursday that the NDA government was looking at the topic of foreigners seeking to stay in India through the “prism of religion”.

Owaisi was responding to a query on the Centre’s stance that the Rohingya people staying in the country are not refugees but illegal immigrants.

“The present Modi government has amended the Foreigners Act. They have amended the Passport Act, wherein they said if a Hindu, a Sikh, a Parsi, or a Buddhist or a Christian who is coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh even without valid papers, even without valid passport, we will give them exemption under the Foreigners Act,” he said.

“Now, why is this issue being looked through religious prism wherein this government is practising that. That is what we are questioning them,” Owaisi said in Hyderabad.

Owaisi said the issue of security vis-a-vis the Rohingya people in Jammu and Kashmir came up suddenly.

“Why Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh did not talk about the issue during his recent visit to the state,” he said.

Singh, while addressing a seminar organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said Rohingyas are not refugees who have applied for asylum in India but illegal immigrants who “will be deported”.

“Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is supported by the BJP, had made a statement in January that not a single Rohingya living in the state has indulged in militancy,” Owaisi said.

“So, who is telling the truth? You (BJP) are supporting the chief minister,” he said.

Citing the example of Sri Lankan Tamils, Owaisi, the Hyderabad MP, claimed that the Rohingya Muslims can be shifted from one camp to another if they indulged in any “undesirable activity”.

“If such elements are there within the Rohingyas, there is an example of Tamil Nadu wherein at that time, when Sri Lankan Tamilians were living in Chennai, they were picked up and they were kept in more secure camps. That can be done,” he said.

He claimed that the Rohingya Muslims are “disenfranchised and stateless people”.

“The Myanmar government does not accept them as citizens. Out of 15 million Rohingyas living in Myanmar, hardly three or four thousand people must be having documents which shows that they are living over there,” he said.

He also claimed that the Supreme Court had held that Right to Equality and life applies also to “aliens”.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, described by the United Nations as the most persecuted minority in the world, fled their homes in the Rakhine state of Myanmar recently to escape a military crackdown. PTI SJR RMT KJ

First Published: Sep 21, 2017 23:43 IST