New Delhi: Fifty-one prominent personalities in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urged him to not forcibly deport the asylum seeker Rohingya Muslims.
The list of signatories includes, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, former Home Minister P Chidambaram, academic Nivedita Menon and actress Swara Bhaskar, activists Teesta Setalvad and Harsh Mander, writer Anil Dharker, media person Pritish Nandy, activist and politician Yogendra Yadav and journalists Sagarika Ghose and Karan Thapar, mentions Scroll.in.
The letter says that seeing ‘Rohingya as a national threat’ is based upon false assumptions. It also notes, under the principal of International Law, which guarantees the ‘right to life’ to all persons, the government is constitutionally obligated to protect people under threat, regardless of their nationality.
The letter further reads: “When the Rakhine State is literally burning, more urgent and immediate steps are needed to stem the current wave of violence… We urge the Government of India to lead a global response to the crisis, and embark on a strategy that includes concrete actions.”
The military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state became responsible of mass evasion of Rohingya Muslims. Around 5,00,000 Rohingya left their homes and entered Bangladesh.
There are more than 14,000 Rohingya registered with the UNHCR, the government told Parliament on August 9. While, as per the estimates of aid agencies, there are about 40,000 Rohingya Muslims in the country.
The letter mentioned in India Today, begins with a brief of Rohingya crackdown and reads as follows:
There have been widespread reports of Myanmar’s security forces resorting to a disproportionate military response that has targeted innocent people.
The United Nations and human rights organisations investigating the violence have termed this as an ethnic cleansing exercise against the Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s security forces and vigilante mobs. There is ample proof to suggest unlawful killing of civilians, mass displacement, sexual violence and the burning of villages
When the Rakhine State is literally burning, more urgent and immediate steps are needed to stem the current wave of violence… We urge the Government of India to lead a global response to [the Rohingya] crisis and embark on a strategy that includes concrete actions…India must “set out a new and bold vision” to deal with the Rohingya crisis.
It would be against India’s own humanitarian principles and traditions, its obligations under international law, as well as its own constitutional provisions, to deport the 40,000 Rohingya refugees, currently in the country. The government is constitutionally obligated to protect threatened groups of foreign nationals.
The Indian government’s justification to deport Rohingya Muslims is premised on the false assumption that all Rohingya people present a potential threat to national security… This is simply not the case, and the evidence to support these assertions have not held up. If any refugees or asylum seekers are found to be engaging in criminal activities, they must be prosecuted in accordance with due legal processes. However, this should not be used an excuse to mete out collective punishment to an entire community.
‘Growing radicalisation of certain segments of the Rohingya community’ is connected to the ‘decade of persecution and discrimination of the Rohingya community by the authorities in Myanmar.’ The solution to Rohingya crisis lies not ‘in the deportation of Rohingya refugees but in the cessation of state-led violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar.’
Credibility as a net security provider for our neighbours in the region would be severely compromised if we fail to act on behalf of our broader interests in the region. As an aspiring global leader of the twenty-first century, India cannot afford to adopt a short-sighted approach to what has now become a monumental, global crisis.
The Rohingya crisis ‘has now become a monumental, global crisis’ and that ‘India cannot afford to adopt a short-sighted approach’ to deal with the situation. Honourable Prime Minister, you have often hailed India as the land of ‘Gandhi and Buddha’. We now look to you to honour the principles that they upheld. We stand ready to support your leadership.
Supreme Court will be hearing a petition filed by two Rohingya Muslims on October 13. The petition challenges Centre’s decision of deporting Rohingya back to violence-hit Myanmar.