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Varun Gandhi gains ‘anti-national tag’ for speaking in favour of Rohingyas

Varun Gandhi gains ‘anti-national tag’ for speaking in favour of Rohingyas

NEW DELHI: Union minister Hansraj Ahir criticised BJP MP Varun Gandhi for his views that Rohingya Muslims should be given asylum in India after security vetting, saying those who have national interest in mind should not make such statements.

“Jo desh ke hith mein sochenga woh is tarah ke bayan nahi dega (Anyone who have national interest in mind, won’t make such statements),” Ahir told reporters here.

Contradicting his own party’s stand, the MP from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh wanted the government to consider granting refugee status to Rohingyas from Myanmar.

In an article written in a Hindi daily, Gandhi said India must give asylum to Rohingyas but before that analysis of genuine security concerns should be done.

“Four crore people have sought refuge in India since independence,” he wrote in Navbharat Times today and later shared the piece with his 56,000-plus followers on Twitter.

After Ahir’s comments, Varun said his recent piece focused primarily on defining India’s asylum policy, with clear demarcations on how “we would accept refugees”.

“As for the Rohingyas, I’ve called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns (sic),” he tweeted.

The BJP, in its national executive yesterday, adopted a resolution supporting the government’s stand on the Rohingya issue, saying it fulfilled its responsibilities by providing humanitarian relief to Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees while ensuring that internal security was not compromised for its 125 crore citizens.

Terming the Rohingya refugees as “illegal” immigrants, the government recently told the Supreme Court that some of them were part of a “sinister” design of Pakistan’s ISI and terror groups such as the ISIS, whose presence in the country will pose a “serious” national security threat.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week had said Rohingyas were not refugees who have applied for asylum in India but illegal immigrants who “will be deported”.

The Supreme Court is hearing multiple petitions both in favour of and against deporting Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing Myanmar following its army’s crackdown in the Rakhine state.

Nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in India in the last five years, with most of them settling in Jammu, New Delhi, Punjab, and Rajasthan.

However, the latest exodus of the Muslim minority Rohingyas began on August 25, when the Myanmar army launched fresh offensive in Rakhine, following an attack by Rohingya rebels on multiple government posts.

agencies inputs