New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere in the decision of the Centre thus allowing the deportation of the seven Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi announced that the seven Rohingyas were found to be illegal immigrants and Myanmar has accepted them as its citizens. "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken," the apex court said.
The Centre told Myanmar that it has issued a certificate of identity to the Rohingyas along with one month visa to facilitate deportation. The Myanmar Embassy has agreed to take them back.
The Centre told the apex court that these seven Rohingyas had entered India illegally in 2012. They were detained and they were convicted under the Foreigners Act. They were sent to jail and they have served their term.
Earlier, a plea was filed in the apex court on Wednesday for the urgent hearing in the matter. The plea was filed by Prashant Bhushan and it sought to restrain Centre from deporting the Rohingyas.
India on Wednesday decided to deport the Rohingyas to Myanmar on Thursday. They are currently in Imphal, Manipur and will be taken to Moreh border where they'll be handed over to Myanmar authority.
Earlier, they were lodged in the Silchar Detention centre in Assam.
"Seven Myanmarese nationals lodged in Silchar will be deported on October 4. The travel permits have come. The deportation will take place via Moreh (a border town) in Manipur,” news agency ANI quoted a senior official of the home and political department of the state.
Of the existing 900-odd inmates in the six detention camps in the state, most are individuals who were “declared foreigners” at the 100 Foreigners Tribunals in Assam. This is the first time Rohingya immigrants will be sent back to Myanmar from India.
A UN human rights expert has expressed alarm at the government’s plan saying India ought to refer the seven persons to UN refugee agency before taking any decision on sending them to Myanmar.
"A UN human rights expert has expressed alarm at the Indian Government’s plan to deport seven Rohingya men to Myanmar, saying their forcible return could constitute refoulement which violates international law," the body said, quoting the expert. "The Indian government has an obligation to refer Rohingyas under their custody to the UN refugee agency so their protection needs can be assessed and proper information provided to them about their rights."