Rohingya Muslims are not ‘refugees’, but are illegal immigrants: Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh cautions border states to be vigilant against Rohingya influx

New Delhi, September 21: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that it would be a mistake to call Rohingya Muslims ‘refugees’ as they have not completed the legal process.

Addressing the gathering at the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) two-day national seminar on good governance and human rights, Rajnath said, “The Rohingya Muslims are not refugees as they have not completed the legal process. Neither are there any asylums for the Rohingyas and they haven’t applied for it too.”

He also expressed great concern about the threat to national security, that is posed by the influx of the Rohingyas into the country.

Rajnath further averred that Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement that their government was ready to welcome back Rohingya refugees has given a new hope.

“If India deports Rohingya Muslims, why do people have an objection and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has even talked of taking them back. So, this has given us a new hope,” he added.

Earlier, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that Rohingya refugees pose a big security threat as many of them have links with terror organisations and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The government in its 16-page affidavit expressed fears of violence against Buddhists living in India by radicalised Rohingyas.

The Centre told the top court that it would also file its response to a PIL challenging deportation of the Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, in an exclusive interview with ANI, had emphasised on the fact that Naypyitaw hasn’t had any experience or experiments with counter-terrorism operations, urging for measures that necessarily avoid collateral damage.

“Counter-terrorism is something that we have to take very seriously. And I have to confess that our country has not had experiments with regard to counter-terrorism. But, in India, you have had a lot of experiments and you know that it is a very delicate matter, because counter-terrorism must be carried out in such a way that the innocent are not affected. Whatever we do, we should try to avoid all collateral damage and any action that would hurt innocent people,” Suu Kyi said.

“Counter-terrorism is very difficult because terrorism by its nature means that some of the members are embedded in the ordinary population and how we distinguish one from the other is very important. We don’t want to hurt those who are innocent and at the same time, we have to make sure terrorists are not allowed to carry on with their activities,” she added.

When asked if Myanmar has talked to Pakistan in this regard, Suu Kyi said, “No, we have not had any discussions with them on this.”

The most amicable solution would be to promote love and compassion throughout the communities, she said, adding, “But it may be the most amicable, the most desirable, but it is not necessarily the easiest one to achieve.”

“You must know that it is the most difficult thing in the world to make, who are hostile to each other, learn to open their hearts and to accept the differences and make those differences strength and a bond between them,” she asserted.

The current crisis in Myanmar began when the anti-Muslim sentiment turned worse after an August 25 attack by the ARSA, killing twelve security officers in the northern Rakhine state.

For the unversed, the Myanmar State Councillor broke her silence on the Rohingya crisis in the country and said that the government does not fear scrutiny by the international community, in a State of the Union address on Tuesday morning, even as more than 4,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from the northern Rakhine State.

“There have been allegations and counter-allegations that need to be investigated. The government still needs to find out what the real problems are,” Suu Kyi said, in a nationally televised address, the first since an army crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority community was branded as “ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations.

Suu Kyi further stressed on the short time her government has been in power for, adding, “I am aware of the fact the world attention is focused on the situation in the Rakhine State as a responsible member of the community of nations. Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny and is committed to bringing peace and sustainable solution that will bring peace, stability and development for all communities within that state.”

“We don’t want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicities. Hate and fear are the main scourge and a transition for us is a transition to democracy after half a century or more of authoritarian rule. We now are in the process of nurturing our nation and yet imperfect democracy. Peace and stability have to be achieved after nearly 70 years of internal conflict that started on the day of our independence back in 1948,” she stated.

Suu Kyi further said that an action would be taken against anyone, who goes against the law of the land or violates human rights, ‘regardless of race or political position.’ (ANI)

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