Lawyers for Muslim minority argue deportations would violate international conventions, Constitution
NEW DELHI(AA)-India’s Supreme Court Friday began hearing a challenge to a decision to deport Rohingya back to Myanmar, where the minority Muslims have faced violent persecution.
The apex court had agreed on Monday to hear the petition on various grounds, including that such deportations would violate international conventions.
A bench of the Supreme Court on Friday considered the submission of lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who asked for an urgent hearing on the Indian government’s deportation order.
In their petition, Mohammad Shaqir and Mohammad Salimullah argued their deportation would violate India’s Constitution as well as the principle of “non-refoulement,” which prohibits the deportation of refugees.
Rohingya Muslims are neither accepted by Myanmar nor its neighbor Bangladesh, and live in in constant fear following the Indian government’s plan to deport 40,000 Rohingya refugees.
In India, they are mostly settled in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Kiren Rijiju, India’s union minister of state for home affairs, recently told parliament that the central government had asked the states to identify Rohingya Muslims living illegally and initiate deportation processes.
The case comes amid a fresh wave of violence and persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya since late last month. Violence erupted in Rakhine, Myanmar on Aug. 25 when the southeast Asian country’s security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community.
Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.
The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.
Since last October, the UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances amid a crackdown on Rohingya which has left some 400 people dead.