A group of eminent personalities on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not deport Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers, saying a proposal that the entire community is a threat to national security is based on “false assumption”.
In an open letter, 51 prominent names including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, former home minister P Chidambaram, former Union home secretary G K Pillai among others, observed that as an aspiring global leader, India cannot afford to adopt a “shortsighted approach”.
“India’s justification to deport the Rohingyas to Myanmar is premised on the false assumption that all of them present a potential threat to national security. This is simply not the case and the evidence to support these assertions have not held up,” read the letter.
The development comes a day before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a petition filed by Rohingya Muslims challenging the Centre’s stand to deport them back to Myanmar.
Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the ‘right to life’ to all persons, regardless of their nationality, and the government is constitutionally obligated to protect threatened groups of foreign nationals, the letter said.
Growing radicalisation of certain segments of the Rohingya community is linked to “persecution and discrimination” of the community by the authorities in Myanmar, the letter, which has actor Swara Bhaskar among the signatories, said.
It also noted that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) has also been accused of targeting other ethnic groups in Rakhine, including Hindus and Buddhists.
The coalition of citizens also called upon the Centre to set out a “new and bold vision” for India’s approach to the Rohingya crisis, which not only seeks to address the needs of the thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar, but also address the violence that has caused them to flee in the first place.