Vishad Srivastava, B.A. LL.B. (H), Amity University
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an urgent plea made by two Rohingya Muslim immigrants against the government’s proposed move to deport their 40,000-strong refugee community back to their native Myanmar, where discrimination and possibly summary executions await them. A Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud decided to hear the plea of Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir for protection of the life and liberty of their community on September 4. The petitioners are being represented by advocates by Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, said that the center’s move to deport them violated the constitutional guarantee that the Indian state should protect the life and dignity of every human being whether citizen or not “ if they are deported they will be executed”. Moreover “Proposed deportation is contrary to the constitutional protections of Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) and Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India, which provides equal rights and liberty to every person.” As submitted by the advocate Prashant Bhushan.
Background of the case.
The Rohingya people are stateless, Indo- Aryan people from Rakhine state, Myanmar which they claim to be their homeland for generations. They are estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar. The majority of them are Muslim and minority are Hindu. Described as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world most of the Rohingya Muslim are denied of citizenship under the 1982 Burmese Citizenship law which restricts full citizenship to British Indian migrants who settled after 1823. The Rohingya are also restricted from freedom of movement, state education and civil services jobs in Myanmar Despite promises of equality by Myanmar’s independence leader Aung San the Rohingyas have faced military 1991–1992, 2012, 2015 and 2016-2017. UN officials have described Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing They have been tagged as Bangladeshi refugee in the Myanmar state and they have been treated as a refugee and nothing else.
In recent times thousands of Rohingya Muslim in Burma have made their way to neighboring Bangladesh, fleeing an aggressive Burmese military campaign that ravaged thousand of villages in the country’s restive state of Rakhine. An official from the International organization of migration told reports atleast 18,500 Rohingya has crossed the border in the past six days, joining the nearly 400,000 Rohingya already housed in squalid camps in Bangladesh. The most recent exodus to Bangladesh follows an upsurge violence in Rakhine. Last week, militant from Arakhan Rohingya Salvation Army an insurgent group allegedly formed by Rohingya living inSaudi Arabia, launched a string of attacks on police posts and military camps. Burmese authority claimed that atleast 77 militant, 12 members of security forces and 14 civilian have been killed since last week .
State Home Affairs Minister Rijiju’s response was to outline a plan to deport 40,000 Rohingya refugee, or “illegally staying foreign nationals”, from India. Carefully avoiding the word “refugee”, the minister said that the central government had directed the state governments to set up district task forces to “identify and deport” the foreign nationals. Minister further stated that since India is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees, refugee status granted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to the Rohingya was irrelevant to their deportation. Moreover The West Bengal government will distribute identity cards issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Rohingya children lodged in the juvenile justice homes of the State. The UNHCR says some 16,500 Rohingya from Myanmar are registered with it in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going for BRICS summit and after that it will be crucial for the government to take a clear stand on it till now one statement has come from that “ It is the internal affair of Myanmar which they have to resolve.” But it is to be understand by the government that these people are being the refugees and staying in our country since the violence broke down in Rakhine in 2012 where then External Affair Minister Salman Khursid has donated 1 million dollar help to Rakhine.
United Nation’s Move
On this issue the U.N. has tried it level best which will be amounting to fruitful result one of it’s help is that last week, a commission led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan filed a report urging the Burmese government to restore citizenship rights to the Rohingya, which were stripped by the military regime in 1982. Kofi Anan is the former secretary general of U.N. OCHCR has filed a report which cites consistent testimony indicating that hundreds of Rohingya houses, schools, markets, shops, madrasas and mosques were burned by the army, police and sometimes civilian mobs. Witnesses also described the destruction of food and food sources, including paddy fields, and the confiscation of livestock.
It also noted that several people were killed in indiscriminate and random shooting – many while fleeing for safety.
Rohingya Muslim constitutes nearly 1.1 million population who are still looking for the normal life where atleast they get some recognition but reality is that in their own country they are not being considered and some neighbouring country are giving them space as refugee but others are deporting them where they have no recognition. Myanmar the country of Aung San Suu Kii who have got Nobel Peace Prize and she is current foreign Minister where she have fought for the human rights and establishment of democracy showed the height of double standard when she keep quiet on this issue which involve the life of nearly 1 million people. With this double standard attitude she have completely disgraced the Nobel Peace Prize Award actually the problem is not new to Myanmar but it became big when the deprived Rohingya Muslim has rebelled now. Moreover this incident is also the test of Citizenship bill of India which is pending in Rajya Sabha. We have to learn from the countries like U.K where they have given easily space to the refugees. At last it is the message to all nations who are not accepting the refugees that “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of shark.”