New Delhi: India on Thursday deported seven Rohingya immigrants, who had been staying in Assam illegally, to their country of origin, Myanmar, in the first such move by New Delhi.
India deports seven Rohingyas to Myanmar
The seven were detained in 2012 and, since then, had been lodged at Cachar Central Jail in Assam’s Silchar town.
The Indian foreign ministry said that the deportation took place after the seven expressed their willingness to return home and with the concurrence of the government of Myanmar.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court rejected the plea made by one of the Rohingya refugees seeking to restrain the centre from deporting them to Myanmar, a PTI report said.
All the seven from Myanmar’s Rakhine state were detained for violating the Foreigners Act, the ministry said. The chief judicial magistrate of Cachar had awarded a three-month sentence for this violation and ordered their detention pending repatriation, it said.
“In accordance with established procedures and previous precedent, and with the assistance of the ministry of external affairs, the embassy of the Union of Myanmar was able to establish the identity of these individuals as residents of that country,” the ministry said.
“The government of Myanmar issued certificates of identity to facilitate the travel of these individuals to their home towns in Rakhine State. In parallel, the individuals also requested in 2016 that the embassy of the Union of Myanmar should issue them relevant travel documents to facilitate their return to their own country,” it said.
“Upon reconfirming their willingness to be repatriated (on 3 October 2018), and with the full concurrence of the government of Myanmar, in accordance with established procedures and laws, the government of Assam has arranged for the repatriation of these seven individuals to Myanmar,” it added.
The Indian government had informed Parliament last year that more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, stay in India.
Aid agencies, however, estimate that there are about 40,000 Rohingya refugees in India.