Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Monday said that people illegally staying in India will have to go, including the Rohingyas.
“Anyone who is staying in India illegally has to go away. There is a proper process for deportation,” Rijiju said.
The government is preparing to deport around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar. Around 16,500 of these refugees are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), that has issued them identity cards.
“What I said in Parliament is based on position of law. It is wrong to demonise India. India has accepted the largest number of refugees in the world. So whether it is UNHCR or any other organisation, they have no right to criticise our government,” Rijiju said after the government drew flak from human rights advocacy groups and others for its proposed move.
He said the Home Ministry has issued a directive to set up a task force in every district to identify illegal immigrants and “start the process of deportation as per law”.
He said that India cannot go on accepting migrants “indefinitely”.
“What I am saying is that we are not just throwing them away. We are deporting them as per a legally laid procedure… India has immense respect for human rights and human dignity,” the Minister said.
Rijiju had earlier this month told Parliament that the central government had directed state authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants, including Rohingyas.