The Centre today told the apex court that the Rohingya Muslims were "illegal" immigrants in the country and that their continuous stay posed "serious national security ramifications". Accusing New Delhi of looking at the issue from a religious angle, he said while amending the Foreigners Act in 2015, it gave certain exemptions to Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Jains arriving from Pakistan and Bangladesh, but the word Muslim was not included.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing the Rohingya at the Supreme Court hearing, said the Indian constitution "provides equal rights and liberty to every person" including non-citizens. "If India says we won't allow them in our country then no global body can ask it to take them in", he said.
According to Ashin Ven Pandita, who is now studying Buddhism in Sri Lanka, posted on his facabook on September 14, that about 30 people who identified themselves as Rohingyas arrived with Myanmar passports and that was why arrival visa was suspended temporarily.
The Centre filed the affidavit in response to a petition by Mohammad Salimullah and another Rohingya refugee challenging the move to deport them back to Myanmar, where they claim they will face certain death or torture.
"Some of the Rohingyas with militant background are also found to be very active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat and have been identified as having a very serious and potential threat to the national security of India", Mittal said in a written submission to the Supreme Court.
Initially, Sri Lankan Minister of Internal Affairs S.B. Navinna, said his government took the decision to stop Rohingya Muslims from seeking refuge in Sri Lanka.
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More than 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, in the wake of a violent military offensive launched after hundreds of Rohingya rebels assaulted police posts. Rohingya activists say many families have lived in Myanmar for years.
The Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar for decades.
The U.N. General Assembly is meeting in NY this week.
"We are still allowed to issue (visas on arrival) to diplomats, monks and nuns, but for tourists we have stopped giving arrival visas", she said.
The hearing will continue next month.