BJP MP Varun Gandhi. Photo: The Indian Express

Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir harshly criticized Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Varun Gandhi’s for saying in a national newspaper editorial that Rohingya Muslims should be given asylum in India after security vetting, saying his views were  “anti-national.”

In Navbharat Times, Gandhi asked the government to respect international agreements to which India is a signatory and keep in mind “the rich Indian tradition” of helping refugees, India Today reported.

Ahir said in response, “Anyone who has the national interest in mind won’t make such statements.”

Later, Gandhi took to Twitter, saying, “My recent piece focused primarily on defining India’s asylum policy, with clear demarcations on how we would accept refugees. As for the Rohingyas, I’ve called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns.”

Asia Times reported on September 21 that Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh had lashed out at those who oppose the deportation of Rohingyas, insisting that members of the Muslim minority from Myanmar’s strife-torn Rakhine state are not refugees but “illegal immigrants.”

Viewing Rohingya refugees as a national security threat to India, the central government has asked the Supreme Court to not interfere with the deportation of members of Myanmar’s Muslim minority group, which it says is an “executive policy decision.”