AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said the Centre has no legal leg to stand on over the Rohingya refugees’ issue in view of a Supreme Court ruling that refugees are entitled to fundamental rights under the Constitution.
Reacting to the Centre’s affidavit in the apex court that the issue of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar posed serious threat to national security, the Hyderabad MP said it was propaganda by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.
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.
He said the refugees were entitled to protection of their fundamental rights under Article 12 and 14 of the Indian Constitution. Any government policy violative of the fundamental rights would be questioned by the Supreme Court, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader said.
Pointing out that not a single Rohingya was arrested in India for links with the Inter-Services Intelligence or the Islamic State or for doing ‘hundi’ transactions, Owaisi said even if somebody was found indulging in such activity, action should be taken against him or her under the law.
“You monitor and regulate them,” he told reporters, while recalling that a similar issue had come up when Sri Lankan Tamils living in Tamil Nadu were shifted to secured camps.
The AIMIM leader urged the Union government to look at Rohingyas as a humanitarian one.
“They ran away from their country to save themselves from Myanmarese government. They have nothing to eat or wear and are jumping into the sea to save themselves. To send them back will be a great travesty of justice. I hope this will not happen,” he said
Owaisi said nearly three lakh Rohngiyas, including two lakh children, had taken refuge in Bangladesh.
He said India had in the past allowed Buddhists from Tibet, Tamils from Sri Lanka and Hindus from Pakistan to come into the country.