India deports 7 Rohingyas after SC nod

India deports 7 Rohingyas after SC nod

The seven Rohingya men to be deported sit as Indian and Myanmar security officials exchange documents before their deportation on India-Myanmar border at Moreh in the northeastern state of Manipur on Thursday. Reuters

India on Thursday repatriated seven Rohingyas to Myanmar after the apex court turned down a plea to stop the government from deporting them.

Though at least two United Nations agencies and several human rights organizations expressed concern over the fate of the seven, the government said that they had been deported only after confirming their willingness to return to the Rakhine State of Myanmar. The Ministry of External Affairs said that the Embassy of Myanmar in New Delhi had confirmed the identity of the men as the residents of the neighbouring country.

The seven men – Mohammad Jalal, Mokbul Khan, Jalal Uddin, Mohammad Younis, Sabbir Ahamed, Rahim Uddin and Mohammad Salam – were held at Cachar Central Jail in Silchar in southern Assam since 2012. They were handed over to the Myanmar Government's official at India-Myanmar border at Moreh in Manipur on Thursday.

The Rohingyas – all from Kyauk Township of Rakhine State of Myanmar – had been detained in 2012 for violating the Foreigners Act by illegally entering into India from Myanmar. The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Cachar at Silchar in Assam had sent them to prison for three months and ordered detention pending repatriation.

Raveesh Kumar, an official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said that the Embassy of Myanmar in New Delhi had been able to establish the identity of the individuals as the residents of the neighbouring country, in accordance with “established procedures and previous precedent”. Nay Pyi Taw later issued them Certificates of Identity to facilitate their travel to the Rakhine State in Myanmar. “In parallel,” said the MEA spokesperson, “the individuals (the seven Rohingyas) also requested in 2016 that the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar should issue them relevant travel documents to facilitate their return to their own country.”

Deportation of the seven Rohingyas from India to Myanmar prompted UN High Commission for Human Rights and UN High Commission for Refugees to remind New Delhi that the international laws required nations to refrain from sending refugees back to countries where they could still face danger.

“The Indian government is conducting a relentless smear campaign against the Rohingya community in India for over two years now. This decision sets a dangerous precedent for all asylum seekers and refugees in India. The Narendra Modi government must work with the UNHCR so as not to renege on basic human rights commitments,” Aakar Patel of Amnesty India said.

The Amnesty International earlier accusing Myanmar’s military Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and 12 other named individuals of committing crimes against humanity during the “ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State” in August 2017.