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Rohingya deportation: Circular on illegal immigrants still operative, says Centre (hindu)

Supreme Court has not asked for withdrawal of order on the Rohingya, says official.

A day before the Centre for the first time acknowledged in the Supreme Court that the latter’s remark on its order to deport Rohingya could have international ramifications, the Home Ministry brainstormed on steps to be taken if Myanmar refused to accept the undocumented migrants.

With no concrete “plan” in place to deport the Rohingya, the Ministry convened a meeting on Thursday to decide the logistics and financial implications if the illegal migrants were not accepted by Myanmar.

On August 9, the Ministry issued a circular asking State governments to initiate the procedure to deport illegal immigrants, including the Rohingya.

A Ministry spokesperson said the SC’s oral order on Friday was “neither a stay nor an interim order” on the circular. An official said the circular was still operative and the apex court had not asked the Centre to withdraw it.

“Since the circular asked State governments to identify and deport the Rohingya, the meeting discussed threadbare who will bear the expenses of keeping them in camps till their nationality is decided. A Tribunal will be set up to decide their nationality and police will have to prove that they are illegal migrants first,” said a senior Ministry official.

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Another official said the limitations faced in case of illegal Bangladeshi migrants were also discussed.

In the past three years only two Bangladeshis have been deported.

According to the Ministry’s estimate, there are around 40,000 Rohingya in India, of which around 5,700 are in Jammu. Of these, only 16,000 are said to be registered with the U.N. body.

“Another important aspect was that if Rohingya were not sent back and continued to live here, how much allowance will they be granted and will they be allowed to take up a job for sustenance,” said the official.

On September 11, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had slammed India for its plan to deport the Rohingya. Mr. Hussein had said that “India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations.”

Reacting to the statement, Mr. Rijiju had said the government had not firmed up a plan to deport the Rohingya yet and had only asked State governments to identify the illegal immigrants and initiate action as per the established procedure.

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