NEW DELHI: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that the government is taking steps to stop further infiltration of Rohingyas. He said that to control the Rohingyas from spreading in the country, the Centre has given state governments the right to stop them.
"The Border Security Force and Assam Rifles are deployed to stop further infiltration of Rohingyas. We have issued an advisory to states to monitor those who have already come and to keep them in one place and not let them spread. States also have right to deport them," the Home Minister said.
However, the Trinamool Congress hit back at the government over the move and questioned why humanitarian assistance under 'Operation Insaniyat' is only being given to Rohingyas in Bangladesh. "The External Affairs Ministry is conducting 'operation insaniyat' for Rohingyas in Bangladesh. There are 40,000 Rohingyas in India, will we show insaniyat for only those who are in Bangladesh," TMC MP Sugata Bose asked the Centre.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju though termed TMC's objection as unfortunate. "This is an unfortunate statement by him. India is probably the only country which has adopted such a soft approach to refugees. We also told Myanmar that we are ready to assist them in providing facilities to Rohingyas when they return," Rijiju said.
In response to the humanitarian crisis being faced by Bangladesh due to the large influx of refugees, India had in September last year extended assistance to the neighbour. It had offered relief material like rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, tea, ready to eat noodles, biscuits, mosquito nets etc for the affected people.
Rajnath had on July 25 told Parliament that India is in talks with Bangladesh for the deportation of Rohingya refugees who have been illegally staying in India. The Home Minister further said the Centre has sent an advisory to state governments to identify illegal immigrants and take their biometrics and ensure that they don't have any document to claim Indian citizenship in the future. "After we get a report from states, we will send it to the External Affairs Ministry," he added.
Rijiju had also said that India has already approached Myanmar and Bangladesh on the issue of Rohingya refugees. adding that under the Foreigners Act, the Centre has powers to identify, detect and deport anyone who is staying illegally in India.
"Government of India is impressing on them to take back these people. The process will be as per the discussion we have with a sovereign country. I cannot give assurance here," he had said.
With regard to deportation of illegal Bangladeshis, Rijiju had said, "The Bangladesh government has agreed, identified and accepted the identity of 52 people as Bangladeshis."