India's top court holds Rohingya deportation plan

Rohingya

Rohingya

The court told the government that no Rohingya refugee should be deported until the next date of hearing in the case. "The issue involves human rights of many", the top court said in its observation.

"While national security and economic interests need to be secured, innocent women and children can not be ignored", the apex court said.

However, it also allowed petitioners to approach it in case of any contingency. It is not an ordinary case.

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It said that it was an issue of greater magnitude which needs to be heard at length and fixed November 21 as the next date of hearing.

The top court made it clear that there was a need for holistic hearing and it is neither going to be swayed by the arguments of senior lawyer Fali S Nariman, who is representing the petitioners, nor by any other senior counsel and the submissions have to go by the letter of the law. "We will not permit any emotional arguments", the bench observed.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing the petition filed by Rohingya Muslims challenging the government's stand to deport them back to Myanmar. The immigrants also challenged their deportation on grounds of violation of worldwide human rights conventions.

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The two-page letter, released by Amnesty International India deals exclusively with the Rohingya crisis and the Indian government's response to it. However, a plea filed eminent citizens of the country has challenged the government's decision.

A Rohingya petitioner had on September 23 told the top court that they were not illegal immigrants but refugees who fled Myanmar and came to India for shelter in wake of their persecution on the grounds of their religion and community identity and were entitled to all protection under the global conventions on refugees and treaties. In July, the ministry had directed state governments to set up a task force at the district level to identify and deport illegally staying foreign nationals.

Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar in millions after an intense military crackdown that has been likened to an ethnic cleansing by the United Nations.

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