'Identify and deport': Centre ups ante against illegal immigrants

Claudine Rigal
Août 15, 2017

Junior Interior Minister Kiren Rijiju told Parliament last week that the central government had directed the state authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants including Rohingya, who face persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The government has said in its communiqué sent to all states last week that the illegal immigrants are vulnerable to be recruited by the terror groups.

While the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has issued guidelines to identify and deport illegal immigrants such as Rohingyas, officials of the Rajasthan police say that the lack of clarity in instructions and the absence of deportation procedure are posing serious challenges to them.

"These illegal immigrants not only infringe on the rights of Indian citizens but also pose grave security challenges", the communication, sent last week, said.

Due to economic and political turmoil in the neighbouring countries, many enter into India.

Infiltration of (the Rohingyas) from the Rakhine state of Myanmar into Indian territory, especially in recent years, besides being a burden on the limited resources of the country also aggravates security challenges posed to India, the home ministry said. "There are cultural and ethnic similarities, on many occasions such migration goes unnoticed and they settle in Indian Territory".

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar, with many taking refuge in Bangladesh, and some then crossing a porous border into Hindu-majority India.

Kiren Rijiju, a high-profile minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, said in an interview on the weekend that all of an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims are illegal refugees even those registered with the United Nations refugee agency. People in the sub-continent have a common history and share many similarities in physical looks. "But at the same time, the Centre has also not instructed if such card holders should be deported, and, if yes, under what circumstances as some of them have been living here for many years", the official said.

On November 16, 2016, the government had informed the Parliament that according to available inputs, there were around 20 million (two crore) illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying in India.

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