NEW DELHI: The government on Monday charged Rohingya-backers of trying to destabilise India by changing the country’s demographics. Many have been demanding that the Muslim minority refugees not be pushed back to Myanmar, but instead be offered basic health and education facilities here, The Economic Times.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta demanded to know before a three-judge bench, led by CJI Dipak Misra, “what interest they are espousing”. Activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan replied that he was fighting for the human rights of women and children of the Rohingya community. Eight per cent of the refugees are women and children, he stated. But Mehta did not relent. “Who wants to change the demography? Who wants to destabilise the country,” he argued.
Former Law Minister Ashwini Kumar, who has been advocating that India stick to its international obligations on the refugee score, and senior advocate Colin Gonsalves immediately protested against the ASG’s argument.
Kumar contended that the government cannot raise such “bogeys” to undermine human rights and international treaty obligations. Several thousands of Rohingyas, who have been fleeing Myanmar, in the wake of persecution by the country’s Buddhist majority, have already entered India. Bhushan had, at the last hearing, accused the government of using force to push them back.
The government has denied that the BSF was using chilli or stun grenades to push them back. But the government would not allow anybody without valid visa papers to enter India. Bhushan quoted this from a government affidavit to claim that it was virtually the same thing as pushing them back to their home country. He demanded basic health and education facilities in the camps. He said life in the camps was dismal. Gonsalves also insisted on basic education, toilets and health facilities for the refugees.