The Rohingya are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and regarded as illegal immigrants. Photo: NDTV

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday 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.”

Addressing a seminar organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Singh asked why people were objecting to the deportation of Rohingyas when Myanmar was ready to accept them, PTI reported.

He said, “When Myanmar has no problem in taking them back, why [do some people in India] have objection to deportation of Rohingyas?”

On September 18, the central government filed an affidavit at the apex court stating that the government had a“constitutional obligation to deport any illegal immigrants.”

Rohingya community members were “indulging in anti-national activities” and channeling laundered money, the government said in its affidavit on a petition filed by two men challenging the deportation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar, where they face grave danger.

Justifying New Delhi’s move to send the Rohingyas back, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said, “Principle of non-refoulement applies on those who have taken asylum in India,” adding that “no Rohingya has applied for asylum in India till date.”

He added: “The Rohingyas are not refugees. They have not come here after following proper procedures. No Rohingya has applied for asylum. They are illegal immigrants.” 

Meanwhile, the NHRC has approached the Supreme Court to express its opposition to the government’s decision to deport Rohingyas, Times of India reported.

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