Bengal govt in a fix over deportation of Rohingyas

Centre on Aug 8 directed all states to identify and deport all immigrants illegally staying there
Report by: 
Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay
Kolkata
6 Sep 2017

With the Centre directing all state governments to identify Rohingya immigrants from Myanmar illegally staying in the states, the West Bengal government is in a quandary on how to identify and deport them.

On August 8 joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs Dilip Kumar wrote to chief secretaries of all states requesting them to identify all illegal immigrants from our neighbouring states, namely the Rohingyas from Rakhine state of Myanmar and take action against them, as according to the central government, many of them could indulge in terrorist and subversive activities. According to an estimate of the Union government around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered India and are staying illegally here. ``The problem with us is that most of these Rohingyas are coming to India through Bangladesh and they stay are scattered at many places. When they are caught and tried in courts they are tried as Bangladeshis. But when you deport them they reveal that they are actually from Myanmar and they do not want to go anywhere because if they are sent to back to Bangladesh they will be sent to Myanmar again where they fear they will be tortured and killed. We really don't know what to do with them,'' a senior state government official told Echo of India.

A case in point was that of 12 suspected Rohingya girls who have been kept at a Government Home at Lilua at Howrah district. The state government is trying to establish their real identity and take appropriate action. Various human rights organisations, however, are demanding the withdrawal of the central government directive on Rohingyas. Said Madhurima Dhanuka, Coordinator, Prison Reforms Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an NGO working on human rights violations in countries belonging to Commonwealth of Nations: “While countries have a right to expel foreigners under international law, to deport someone requires another country to acknowledge his/her citizenship. As Myanmar refuses to acknowledge Rohingya Muslims as citizens, it becomes impossible for the Indian Government to deport them there, making the (MHA) advisory infructuous.”