Some Rohingyas have been found with links to Pakistan’s ISI, the Islamic State terror group and extremist outfits targeting India, the Centre said today, while making it clear that it was bound to take action against the illegal migrants as per the law. The Union home ministry said that the influx of the Rohingyas started in 2012-13 and the involvement of some of these illegal migrants has been noticed in criminal activities, including fraudulent and illegally obtaining Indian identification documents and fake currency etc. “It has also spawned a network of organised group of touts and agents who are involved in such rackets. In addition, some of the illegal migrants are suspected to having links with ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and ISIS operatives and members of extremists groups targeting India,” a home ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
Amidst the ongoing debate on the illegal migrants, the home ministry said no illegal migrant has a right to stay in India without prescribed legal documents and asserted that the central government’s decision on the declaration of an individual as a foreigner is final according to existing law. The home ministry also said that the right and duty of the Indian government to take action is critical and any interference with this has the potential of encouraging and legitimising illegal migration which can be detrimental for Indian citizens.
The statement came as the Supreme Court is hearing a plea filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who are registered as refugees under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They have claimed that they have taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there. The central government today told the Supreme Court that the Rohingya Muslims are “illegal” immigrants in the country and their continuous stay posed “serious national security ramifications”.
The home ministry spokesperson said that the Foreigners Act 1946 empowers the Indian government to take action against foreigners staying illegally in the country and makes it obligatory for the government to act in the matter.
The process of identification and deportation of such foreigners illegally staying in India is elaborately laid in executive instructions which strictly follow established due process of law. “As a matter of policy, the government of India does not support illegal migrants either in own territories or Indian citizens in foreign territories,” he said.
Curbing illegal migration is a priority area for the government since it has major security, economic and social ramifications and impinges significantly on the basic rights of Indian citizens.
Regulated migration on the other hand is facilitated through an elaborate visa regime which aims to serve the best interests of all concerned parties, including potential migrants. No illegal migrant has a right to stay without prescribed legal documents nor is he entitled to the right to reside and move freely within India under Article 19 which is available only to Indian citizens, the home ministry said. “The government of India’s first duty is towards its own citizens which are to be accomplished within available resources. However, all illegal migrants are to be dealt with under the due process of rule and law applicable in our democratic set up,” the spokesperson said.