Centre’s next step is to deport Rohingyas from the country: MoS Jitendra Singh

According to the Home Ministry, there are roughly 14,000 Rohingya refugees in India. (File)

In the backdrop of nationwide protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed all-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, said Friday the Centre's next step would be the deportation of Rohingyas from the country.

Speaking at a function in Jammu on Friday, Jitendra Singh said, "The next government move will be the deportation of Rohingyas. The government is considering ways to deport them."

The Union Minister also emphasised that the Citizen Amendment Act had become applicable in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir the day it was passed by the Parliament.

Pointing out that Jammu had a sizeable population of Rohingyas, Singh said a list would be prepared and their biometrics would also be collected.

"They (Rohingyas) are not part of the six religious minorities (Hindu, Sikha, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian) in three neighbouring states (Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan). They are from Myanmar and hence have to go as they are not eligible for Indian citizenship under the CAA," Jitendra Singh said.

India does not have a separate statute for refugees, and until now has been dealing with refugees on a case-by-case basis. In late 2011, the Rohingya started to arrive in India’s Northeast following stepped-up persecution by the Myanmarese armed forces.

According to the Home Ministry, there are roughly 14,000 Rohingya refugees in India who are registered with the UNHCR, and there are estimated to be 40,000 Rohingya living in India illegally.

Earlier this year, the Home Ministry informed Rajya Sabha that India had deported 22 Myanmar nationals, including Rohingya, since 2017.

In 2017, the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar fled the country after violence broke out in the country’s Rakhine state. An estimated 6.7 lakh crossed over to neighbouring Bangladesh, adding to the roughly 2.13 lakh Rohingya who had left Myanmar in previous years.