NEW DELHI – A representative of the Indian government told the country’s Supreme Court on Wednesday that the government did not want India to become the world’s refugee capital.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who was representing the center, made these remarks at a hearing for an appeal against the government’s decision to expel almost 40,000 Rohingyas from the country.
“We do not want India to become the refugee capital of the world. People from every other country will flood our country,” Singh said.
The country’s top court is studying the appeal by two Rohingya refugees against the Indian government’s decision to deport members of this Muslim minority, who are not recognized in Myanmar and considered foreigners in Bangladesh.
The lawyer representing the Rohingya, Prashant Bhushan, confirmed to EFE Singh’s remarks, which had been reported by local media, and said that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using this minority for electoral gains.
“(...) they just want to discriminate against Muslims and use this issue for their own domestic politics,” he said, in reference to the move by Modi’s Hindu nationalist party.
In August, the Indian government announced its intention to deport nearly 40,000 Rohingyas who have been living in several camps spread all over north India – out of which 16,500 had refugee status in the country – for posing a security threat owing to alleged terror links.
The decision came at a moment of severe crisis for the Rohingya community, hundreds of thousands of whom have been fleeing Myanmar to escape an ongoing army offensive that began on Aug. 25 after Rohingya rebels launched multiple attacks on government posts in the northwestern state of Rakhine.
According to the United Nations, around 688,000 members of the minority have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25.
The 40,000 Rohingyas living in India had arrived before these successive waves of migration in recent years.
The Indian Supreme Court, which had put the government decision to deport the Rohingyas on hold, announced Wednesday that the next hearing of the case would be on March 7.