All of an estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims living in India are illegal immigrants, even those registered with the UN refugee agency, and the government aims to deport them, a senior government official has told Reuters.
Junior interior minister Kiren Rijiju told parliament last week the central government had directed state authorities to identify and deport illegal immigrants including Rohingya, who face persecution in Buddhist-majority Burma.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued identity cards to about 16,500 Rohingya in India that it says help them “prevent harassment, arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation”.
But Mr Rijiju, a high-profile minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, said in an interview that the UNHCR registration was irrelevant.
“They are doing it, we can’t stop them from registering. But we are not signatory to the accord on refugees,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned they are all illegal immigrants. They have no basis to live …
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