Govt is hold­ing talks with Myan­mar and Bangladesh

New Straits Times - - World - NEW DELHI

IN­DIA is in talks with Bangladesh and Myan­mar about its plan to deport around 40,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims it says are liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally, a gov­ern­ment spokesman said yes­ter­day, with state gov­ern­ments told to form task forces for the pur­pose.

Tens of thou­sands of Ro­hingya have fled per­se­cu­tion in Bud­dhist-ma­jor­ity Myan­mar to neigh­bour­ing Bangladesh since the early 1990s, with some of them then cross­ing over a por­ous bor­der into Hindu-ma­jor­ity In­dia.

New Delhi said only around 14,000 of the Ro­hingya liv­ing in In­dia were reg­is­tered with the United Na­tions refugee agency, mak­ing the rest il­le­gal and li­able to be sent back.

In­dia is not a sig­na­tory to UN con­ven­tions on refugees and no na­tional law cov­ers it.

“These things are be­ing dis­cussed at the diplo­matic level with Bangladesh and Myan­mar,” In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman K.S. Dhat­walia said.

Ju­nior In­te­rior Min­is­ter Kiren Ri­jiju told Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day the fed­eral gov­ern­ment had di­rected state gov­ern­ments to “con­sti­tute task forces at district lev­els to iden­tify and deport the il­le­gally stay­ing for­eign na­tion­als”.

Ri­jiju was in Myan­mar re­cently to at­tend an event, although it was not clear if he dis­cussed the Ro­hingya is­sue.

Of­fi­cials in Myan­mar could not be con­tacted im­me­di­ately for com­ment.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional had said de­port­ing and aban­don­ing the Ro­hingya would be “un­con­scionable”.

The In­dian of­fice of United Na tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees said it was “try­ing to find the facts” about New Delhi’s plans to deport them.

Ro­hingya are gen­er­ally re­viled in In­dia, where its 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple are fight­ing for re­sources and job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Na­tion­al­ist, anti-Is­lamic sen­ti­ments have also fu­elled ha­tred to­wards them.

More than 75,000 Ro­hingya have fled to Bangladesh since Oct 9 af­ter an in­sur­gent group called Harakah al-Yaqin at­tacked Myan­mar bor­der po­lice posts, prompt­ing a huge se­cu­rity crack­down in which troops have been ac­cused of mur­der and rape of Ro­hingya civil­ians. Reuters

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