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Supreme Court refuses interim order on petition by Rohingya refugees

The petitioners have asked for medical and educational facilities, which they claim are being denied to the Rohingyas.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2018 12:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rohingya refugee camps,Rohingya Muslims,Immigrants
Rohingya refugees collect water for daily use at their camp at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi. (Burhaan Kinu/HT File Photo)

The government on Monday strongly opposed in the Supreme Court the petitions seeking to stop deportation of Rohingya refugees and urged the court to leave the issue to its discretion.

Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta told a bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the court must go into the genesis of the petitions and delve into how they were filed. “The court has to ascertain who wants a demographic change, who wants destabilisation, who wants to harm internal security,” he said.

The petitioners have asked for medical and educational facilities, which they claim are being denied to the Rohingyas. When the Centre denied the accusations, the court declined to pass any interim orders.

Mehta said diplomatic efforts were on with neighbouring countries to solve the refugee crisis and the discussions could not be made public at this stage.

In Pics: Rohingya refugees find safe haven in West Bengal village

However, taking note of another petition, the court sought a report on the living conditions of the refugees in makeshift camps of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. The report has to be submitted in two weeks.

At the outset, the petitioner’s counsel, Prashant Bhushan, charged the government with not providing shelter to refugees. He also referred to a government affidavit denying charges that the Border Security Force (BSF) was pushing back Rohingyas at the border using stun guns and chilly grenades. According to the affidavit, Bhushan contended, every foreigner entering India must be in possession of a valid national passport or an internationally recognised travel document establishing his/her nationality.

“This effectively means the Rohingyas who did not have visas were pushed back,” Bhushan said. “It’s obvious that Rohingyas won’t have a visa,” the lawyer submitted, alleging that the government was making false claims. Countering the allegation, Mehta said, “Petitioners are making all sorts of false claims with impunity. How can they say government of India is making false statement? What interests are we trying to protect here?”


First Published: Mar 19, 2018 18:57 IST