‘Can’t compare Sri Lanka refugees and Rohingya’

Centre tells SC that Rohingya stand on a different footing

March 16, 2018 10:32 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Nowhere to go: Rohingya refugees at a camp in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. File

Nowhere to go: Rohingya refugees at a camp in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. File

Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who fled the war in the island nation in the 1980s, stood on a “different footing” from the Rohingyas who seek shelter from persecution in native Myanmar. Any comparison between the two is misconceived, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.

The Centre was responding to comparisons made by the Rohingya in the Supreme Court between their plight and the “relief facilities” given to the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. The Rohingya have sought the same aid and the benevolence India had shown the Sri Lankan Tamils.

Centre’s affidavit

But a six-page government affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Friday said there was no “comparable parity” between the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and Rohingya.

It explained that India reached out to the Sri Lankan Tamils on the basis of two Indo-Sri Lankan Agreements signed in 1964 and 1979.

India had agreed to repatriate and grant Indian citizenship to six lakh persons of Indian origin “together with their natural increase by 1981-82.”

The government denied the charge that the Rohingya were met with stun grenades and chilli powder at the Indian border. It said the Border Security Force performed its duties in challenging circumstances.

The Supreme Court cannot direct the government to “ensure that foreigners enter the territory of India,” it said. The law mandates that a foreigner entering India should have a passport.

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