Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the Centre’s stand that Rohingya Muslims are a security threat is a post-2014 development, at least in his home state, where a large section of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have been living for a long time.
“This threat, at least in J&K, is a post-2014 development. No such intelligence reports ever came up for discussion in Unified HQ meetings,” the National Conference leader tweeted shortly after the Centre told the Supreme Court the Rohingya Muslims are “illegal” immigrants in the country and their countinous stay posed “serious national security ramifications”.
2014 was the year Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected to power after the BJP won its biggest ever mandate in the general elections that year.
The violent attacks – United Nations has called it ethnic cleansing – by Myanmar armymen have led to an exodus of Rohingyas from the western Rakhine state in that country to India and Bangladesh. Many of those who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.
However, earlier today, in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the government said the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of the country is available to citizens only and illegal refugees cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to enforce the right.
“As evident from the constitutional guarantee flowing from Article 19 of the Constitution, the right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India as well as right to move freely throughout the territory of India is available only to the citizens of India. No illegal immigrant can pray for a writ of this Court which directly or indirectly confer the fundamental rights in general…,” the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
The government response was sought by the apex court following a plea, filed by two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, who are registered refugees under the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR). The two had claimed they had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.