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Centre clears its stand on Rohingyas

Centre clears its stand on Rohingyas

Taking a firm stand on the crucial Rohingya crisis, the Central government in its affidavit at the Supreme Court on Monday, cleared that there are enough intelligence inputs to consider the illegal immigrants as a serious security threat to the country and giving them any refuge in India would be a compromise on our national security. Claiming to have enough evidence of the Rohingyas in India having 'terror links' with Pak-based terror groups, the Centre has asked the court not to interfere on the deportation of the Rohingyas, since it is a policy issue and falls within the executive domain. Asserting that more than 40,000 Rohingyas had entered from Myanmar, using the porous border between India and Myanmar, the Centre said that their presence in the country had serious national security ramifications and posited a big threat to India's national security. "India is already saddled with a very serious problem of illegal migrants and is attempting to address this situation in the larger interest of the Nation and keeping the national resources of the country, requirements of India's own population, the national security concerns of India and several other facts in consideration," it said, adding, "The Central Government has confirmed from security agencies inputs and other authentic material indicating linkages of some of the unauthorised Rohingya immigrants with Pakistan based terror organisations. This situation is seriously harming the national security of the country." The Centre further informed the Apex Court that some Rohingyas were indulging in anti-national activities i.e. mobilisation of funds through hundi and hawala channels, procuring fabricated Indian identity documents for other Rohingyas and also indulging in human trafficking. The Centre had also submitted inputs from the security agencies and details gathered during other sensitive investigations right from 2012-13 in a sealed cover, before the Supreme Court, to substantiate the facts placed in its affidavit. It may be noted that some long duration calls between Rohingyas and Pakistan's ISI were also traced to Hafiz Tohar, military wing chief of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), just before the Rohingya insurgents had launched a pre-dawn attack on Myanmar's security forces, subsequently pooh-poohing the tall claims that the Rohingya issue is innocent of the jihadism threat. However, the Rohingya issue has put India in a catch-22 situation, as it is basically related to two of its immediate neighbours, i.e. Myanmar and Bangladesh. While locking horns with Myanmar over this issue could change the de-facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's heart towards China, it would not be easy for India to push Dhaka into the wall over this issue. It may be noted that with backing from Myanmar's military offensive against the Rohingyas, China has been eying to get this key ASEAN state on its side. On the other hand, India has no option left other than to offer unequivocal support to Sheikh Hasina, despite the fact that Dhaka is also having a tough time coping with the massive influx of over 4,00,000 Rohingya refugees. Meanwhile, breaking her silence on the Rohingya crisis, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said that the Myanmar government was leaving no stone unturned to restore peace and stability while also conducting a verification process for the Rohingya Muslims forced to flee by army operations. Reaching out to the global community in a broad appeal for support over the refugee crisis, which has been described as 'ethnic cleansing' by the UN, she said, "Hate and fear are the main scourges of our world. We don't want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicity." Nevertheless, this new doctrine of 'ethnic cleansing' given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who recently presented a statement criticising Myanmar for its systemic persecution of the Muslim ethnic Rohingya community, might have sparked off a debate on India's stand on Rohingya issue, but a key question that appears to have been overlooked is Hussein's silence over Muslim countries not stepping up to absorb the distressed Rohingyas. According to a 2014 Amnesty International report, 'Left out in the cold', the Gulf Cooperation Council—which includes the wealthiest nations like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE—has failed to absorb a single Syrian refugee since the crisis began in 2011. These Muslim countries extend massive financial aid and large donations to the Muslim immigrants and refugees but never absorb them in their countries. Though the ball is now in the court of the Supreme Court of India, one thing is pretty certain: India is not going to shoot the Rohingyas or throw them into the ocean.

The Centre further informed the Apex Court that some Rohingyas were indulging in anti-national activities i.e. mobilisation of funds through hundi and hawala channels, procuring fabricated Indian identity documents for other Rohingyas and also indulging in human trafficking. The Centre had also submitted inputs from the security agencies and details gathered during other sensitive investigations right from 2012-13 in a sealed cover, before the Supreme Court, to substantiate the facts placed in its affidavit. It may be noted that some long duration calls between Rohingyas and Pakistan's ISI were also traced to Hafiz Tohar, military wing chief of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), just before the Rohingya insurgents had launched a pre-dawn attack on Myanmar's security forces, subsequently pooh-poohing the tall claims that the Rohingya issue is innocent of the jihadism threat. However, the Rohingya issue has put India in a catch-22 situation, as it is basically related to two of its immediate neighbours, i.e. Myanmar and Bangladesh. While locking horns with Myanmar over this issue could change the de-facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's heart towards China, it would not be easy for India to push Dhaka into the wall over this issue. It may be noted that with backing from Myanmar's military offensive against the Rohingyas, China has been eying to get this key ASEAN state on its side. On the other hand, India has no option left other than to offer unequivocal support to Sheikh Hasina, despite the fact that Dhaka is also having a tough time coping with the massive influx of over 4,00,000 Rohingya refugees. Meanwhile, breaking her silence on the Rohingya crisis, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said that the Myanmar government was leaving no stone unturned to restore peace and stability while also conducting a verification process for the Rohingya Muslims forced to flee by army operations. Reaching out to the global community in a broad appeal for support over the refugee crisis, which has been described as 'ethnic cleansing' by the UN, she said, "Hate and fear are the main scourges of our world. We don't want Myanmar to be a nation divided by religious beliefs or ethnicity." Nevertheless, this new doctrine of 'ethnic cleansing' given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, who recently presented a statement criticising Myanmar for its systemic persecution of the Muslim ethnic Rohingya community, might have sparked off a debate on India's stand on Rohingya issue, but a key question that appears to have been overlooked is Hussein's silence over Muslim countries not stepping up to absorb the distressed Rohingyas. According to a 2014 Amnesty International report, 'Left out in the cold', the Gulf Cooperation Council—which includes the wealthiest nations like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE—has failed to absorb a single Syrian refugee since the crisis began in 2011. These Muslim countries extend massive financial aid and large donations to the Muslim immigrants and refugees but never absorb them in their countries. Though the ball is now in the court of the Supreme Court of India, one thing is pretty certain: India is not going to shoot the Rohingyas or throw them into the ocean.

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