The Home Ministry has overruled a statement by Minister for Urban Development welcoming a landmark decision that 1,100 Rohingya refugees in Delhi would be shifted to flats meant for the economically weaker sections.


What did the Home Ministry say?

MHA also said that it had issued orders that the shanty town where the Rohingya were now living in be designated a detention centre, pending the deportation of all of the hundreds of people living there.


Who are the Rohingyas?

  • The Rohingyas are the predominantly Muslim ethnic minority group with Bengali dialect.
  • An estimated 800,000 Rohingyas lived in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.
  • They were not regarded as one of the country’s 135 official ethnic groups and were denied citizenship under Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law.
  • Rohingya immigrants in India —
    • According to a Home Ministry estimate, around 40,000 Rohingya migrants live in different parts of the country, including Delhi.
    • In 2021, the government informed the Rajya Sabha that illegal Rohingya immigrants are staying in 12 states and union territories.
      • These States/UTs are – J&K, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka and Kerala.


What is the position of India on Rohingyas?

  • Illegal immigrants —
      • India considers Rohingya refugees as illegal foreigners.
        • MHA has already taken up the matter of their deportation with the concerned country through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
      • India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees and the 1967 protocol thereon.
      • All foreign nationals (including refuge seekers) are governed by the provisions contained in —
        • The Foreigners Act, 1946, The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and The Citizenship Act, 1955.
      • Hence, foreign nationals who enter into the country without valid travel documents are treated as illegal migrants.
  • Threat to national security — In July 2021, the Union Home Ministry said illegal Rohingya immigrants posed a threat to national security as some of them indulging in illegal activities.