The Union Government has done well to maintain its stand at the last hearing in the Supreme Court that the deportation of Rohingya people should be left to the executive as it involved diplomacy. The petitioners who are arguing for a court intervention in the matter are willing to let the Government proceed with the issue but they also want the judiciary to hear the matter. This will create a situation of conflict. If the court is involved, then the Centre will have its hands tied down, because there would be instances where the executive and the judiciary do not see eye to eye on certain processes.
The Government is clear on three issues: The first is that the presence of the Rohingya people from Myanmar in India poses a security threat. There have been many security and intelligence reports that confirm its fear. The second is that the matter is an issue of diplomacy which can be best sorted out through dialogue with the parties concerned. New Delhi is already talking to Myanmar and Bangladesh on the best ways to resolve the crisis. And the third is that the Centre does not want India to become the ‘refugee capital of the world’.
This must not be seen as a cruel remark coming from a country which has traditionally been open to interventions on humanitarian grounds. There are several thousand Tibetans who have sought and found shelter in India over the decades. But the humanitarian angle must be considered alongside other factors, primary among being national security and the socio-economic capacity of the country to handle the influx of people from neighbouring nations. An estimated 40,000 Rohingya people who crossed over from Myanmar over the years, live in India and are registered with the UN Refugee agency here. Deportation is the only way out, though it must be emphasised that the process must be conducted in a fair and humane manner. India’s excellent relations with Myanmar should help in the task of ensuring that the Rohingya population which returns to its homeland is given all reasonable facilities and protection on their comeback. In this regard, New Delhi has already offered the Myanmar Government all possible help. Meanwhile, opposition parties and sundry human rights organisations and self-styled community leaders must stop presenting the Government’s stand on the issue as being ‘anti-minority’. This is not a ‘Muslim issue’, and those who are attempting to construct a minority narrative are a divisive lot.