Muslim organisation demands shelter for Rohingya refugees in India
Hundreds of Muslims demonstrated in New Delhi on Thursday (September 21) against the federal government’s decision to deport Rohingya refugees as the Indian top court hears a challenge to the proposed repatriation.
Led by Jamaat-E-Ulema-Hind, an Islamic organisation, protesters demanded that India should instead provide shelter to the members of the persecuted community who have been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state following a military crackdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, made its stand clear last month that it was going to expel all Rohingya, even those registered with the U.N. refugee agency, about 15,000 of them.
Close to 40,000 Rohingya Muslims live in India.
In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on Monday (September 18), the federal government said that Rohingya refugees were “illegal migrants” who “posed a threat to national security”.
A protester, Maulana Zahid Qasmi, termed the government’s allegations false and demanded proof.
Myanmar says its forces are carrying out their legitimate duty to restore order since attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on Aug. 25 led to a military response that has forced 421,000 Rohingya Muslims, more than half of them children, into neighboring Bangladesh.
The operation in Rakhine state has forced 420,000 of Rohingyas to seek shelter in Bangladesh, in a process the U.N. has described as “ethnic cleansing”.
Members of the 1.1 million groups, who identify themselves by the term Rohingya, are seen by many Myanmar Buddhists as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The term is a divisive issue.
Most Rohingya do not have Myanmar citizenship.