Varun Gandhi, 37-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) form Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh in an editorial published in a leading daily wrote that Rohingya refugees should not be deported but treated humanly. Varun Gandhi also advocated asylum for Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar after violence and atrocities were inflicted on them. However, this stand of the BJP leader received a strong condemnation from Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir. The Minister said that the Varun Gandhi’s view is ‘against nation interest’. “Anybody who has the national interest in mind will not make such a statement,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir added.

“I’ve called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns,” Varun Gandhi told NDTV. In the editorial, Varun Gandhi stressed that four crore people have sought refuge in India since independence.

Varun Gandhi also asked to draft a national refugee policy, which differentiates between people fleeing a country following persecution as opposed to those fleeing poverty.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week said Rohingyas, who have entered India after fleeing Myanmar, were not ‘refugees’ but ‘illegal immigrants’ who need to be sent back.

“We need to understand the reality that Rohingyas from Myanmar who have entered India are not refugees. In order to get the refugee status, one needs to follow a process. None among them has followed that procedure,” Rajnath Singh said, addressing the “National Seminar on Good Governance, Development and Human Rights” here.

Some 40,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in India and reside in Jammu and Hyderabad.

The Home Ministry on Monday submitted its affidavit in the Supreme Court on the deportation of Rohingyas to Myanmar, calling them a “security threat to India”. The court will hear the issue on October 3.