Why Varun Gandhi wants asylum for Rohingya Muslims in India

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New Delhi | Published: September 26, 2017 4:40:50 PM

Varun Gandhi, BJP Member of Parliament, has triggered a political row by suggesting that scores of Rohingya Muslims, who have fled from oppression in Myanmar and taken shelter India.

varun gandhi, rohingya muslims, varun gandhi rohingyas, varun gandhi on rohingyas, rohingya india, india rohingya, rohingya crisis, rohingya issueBJP MP Varun Gandhi. (Twitter/@varungandhi80)

Varun Gandhi, BJP Member of Parliament, has triggered a political row by suggesting that scores of Rohingya Muslims, who have fled from oppression in Myanmar to take shelter in India, should be given asylum here. In an article in Hindi daily Navbharat Times today, Gandhi said India must give asylum to Rohingyas but before that analysis of genuine security concerns should be done.

“We must give asylum to Rohingya refugees. But before that, there should be an analysis of genuine security concerns. Naturally, most of the refugees would like to return home. We should help in returning to their homes by using our power through peaceful means. We must continue giving refuge (to people) by following our tradition of welcoming guests and giving refuge,” Gandhi wrote.

He also stressed that there should be a national policy on refugees in the country. A policy that can “differentiate” between those who have fled their countries due to poverty or oppression. Varun pointed out that India has “signed on several international treaties (ICCPR, ICESCR, CRC, ICERD, CIDWA). In all treaties, India has committed not to send back the refugees. However, no law has been framed locally to follow such commitment.”

Varun’s view on the Rohingya crisis is, however, in conflict with the BJP and the Centre. Union minister Hansraj Ahir even criticised Gandhi for his views, saying those who have national interest in mind should not make such statements.

“Jo desh ke hith mein sochenga woh is tarah ke bayan nahi dega (Anyone who have national interest in mind, won’t make such statements),” Ahir told reporters here.

After Ahir’s remarks, Gandhi clarified that his article focused primarily on defining India’s asylum policy, with clear demarcations on how “we would accept refugees”.

“As for the Rohingyas, I’ve called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns (sic),” Gandhi tweeted.

In its National Executive meeting on Monday, BJP had adopted a resolution supporting the government’s stand on the Rohingya issue. The resolution said India fulfilled its responsibilities by providing humanitarian relief to Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees while ensuring that internal security was not compromised for its 125 crore citizens.

The Centre recently told Supreme Court that Rohingya refugees are “illegal” immigrants, and some of them were part of a “sinister” design of Pakistan’s ISI and terror groups such as the ISIS, whose presence in the country will pose a “serious” national security threat.

Last week, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said Rohingyas were not refugees who have applied for asylum in India but illegal immigrants who “will be deported”.

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