SC order on Rohingyas’ deportation triggered panic among enemies

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Prof Hari Om

The April 8, 2021 Supreme Court (SC) of India’s order rejecting plea of some Rohingya intruders in Jammu seeking immediate release of over 170 detained Rohingyas at Jammu’s Hiranagar sub-jail and barring Narendra Modi Government from deporting them back to Myanmar has triggered panic among the illegal immigrants and their supporters in India, particularly Urban-Naxals and so-called rights activists. What has upset their apple-cart and rattled them all the more is the fact that the SC went by the strong stand of the Narendra Modi Government – ‘Rohingyas are foreigners’; ‘New Delhi’s right to deport the foreigners is unlimited and absolute’ and ‘Rohingyas are a threat to national security’.
Commenting on the SC order, a disturbed Rohingya intruder activist said in Delhi, “This is a terrifying order made by the highest court in India. Given the horrifying situation in Myanmar, I had really hoped the judge would rule in our favour”. And, Fazal Abdali, a lawyer who takes up Rohingya deportation cases, went to the extent of asserting that, “Thursday’s order sends a message that India is no longer a refuge for persecuted minorities”.
It’s a different story that Abdali didn’t refer to senseless opposition to Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 that enables persecuted Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to obtain Indian citizenship. But it was expected of him and others of his ilk. But, Abdali was not the only one who was upset by the SC order. Some so-called rights activists also took the plunge and questioned the approach of the SC towards and stand of Narendra Modi Government on Rohingyas. Some of them included Tapan Bose, former Secretary-General of South Asia Forum for Human Rights based in Kathmandu, Nepal; Rita Manchanda, Human Rights advocate; Jay Manoj Sanklecha, Mumbai-based advocate; and Nirupama Subramanian.
Taking on Modi Government and SC, Bose and Manchanda on April 12 asked, “What geo-economic and strategic compulsions are aligning democratic India on the wrong side of history with brutally repressive military dictators in Myanmar?” Not content with this, they criticised SC, saying, “To compound that, the Supreme Court has legitimated Centre’s contentious directive of deporting Rohingya refugees, holding inapplicable the legal principle of non-refoulement and turning its back on the genocide like situation in Myanmar”. Non-refoulement literally means no refugee shall be returned to a country where he or she could be persecuted.
A day later, Nirupama Subramanian not only said almost the same but also went many steps further to bring bad name to the Modi Government and further the cause of the illegal immigrants. She, inter-alia, said, “In the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta referred to them as illegal immigrants. Combined with public and political rhetoric about terrorism and communal slurs, there is a demand that they be deported immediately”. She also asked the Government of India, “Why it deals with refugees from different countries differently?” In this context, she said, “In the case of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, many of them in camp in Tamil Nadu. The state Government provides them an allowance and allows them to seek jobs, and their children to attend school…But in terming Rohingya in India as ‘illegal’ (in contrast to calling them refugees in Bangladesh) and pledging to send them back to Myanmar, India is going against the principle of ‘non-refoulement’, to which it is bound as a signatory to other international treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.
As for Sanklecha, he on April 14, said, “The judiciary enjoys an uneasy relationship with international law. While on occasion, courts have made use of international law, including treaty and customary law to enlarge the scope of domestic rights, on other occasions, they have failed to consider the import of such rules. A striking illustration of the latter is the SC order rejecting a plea filed on behalf of Rohingya refugees detained in Jammu seeking to stop their deportation to Myanmar…SC failed to appreciate that treaty law is not the only source of international law and that a State could acquire obligations under customary law. This oversight is striking, and the UN Special Rapporteur, who could shed light on the applicable international law norms, was not allowed to make any submissions…It is difficult to appreciate how the detained Rohingyas, which include children and women, would en masse constitute a security threat. Unfortunately, the consequences for the deported Rohingyas may be far graver”.
It is clear from what these activists and ardent supporters of Rohingya and other intruders said about the Modi Government and the SC as far as the Rohingya issue was concerned that they consider India a banana republic and land of every Tom, Dick and Harry. No wonder then that it is they who hurt India for reasons not really difficult to fathom. It would not be an exaggeration if it is said that the real threat to India is from enemies within.
It would also not be out of place to point out that the Rohingya intruders virtually consider India as their second home because elements in the establishments in Delhi, J&K, West Bengal and many other states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Telangana, provided them all kinds of facilities. So much so, these elements helped them obtain Aadhar, ration and voter-ID Cards, and even passports. To bring the Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bangladesh and settle them in certain Indian states had become a sort of lucrative business and the anti-India forces had been using them to change the demographics of border states calculated to dismembering India step by step.
It’s heartening that the Modi Government has planned to act against the illegal immigrants and the SC has refused to put its foot down in matters relating to national security, sovereignty, nation and nationality.