Rohingya crisis: Securing borders executive function, Centre tells SC

New Delhi—Securing the country's borders is essentially an "executive function", the Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court and urged it not to direct the Union and the state governments to allow foreigners to enter illegally.

Responding to the prayers, made by two Rohingya refugees, including that the Border Security Force be stopped from allegedly using "chilli and stun grenades" to stop refugees from entering, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that it was protecting the borders in accordance with the law and complying with human rights in larger "national interests".

"Securing the borders of any sovereign nation, in accordance with law, is an essentially executive function and this court should not issue a writ directing not only the central government but all state governments having a common border to ensure that foreigners enter the territory of India," the affidavit said.

The MHA denied the allegations that chilli and stun granades were being used to push back Rohingyas and said that it was "false, incorrect and far from truth".

India has been facing the serious problem of infiltration because of its porous border with other countries and this is "the root cause of spread of terrorism", it said.

"All agencies tasked with the function of guarding the borders of our nations are discharging their duties strictly in accordance with law and complying with the human rights in larger national interests," the Centre's affidavit said.

Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, the Rohingya refugees, sought permission to enter India, besides education and health care facilities and grant of refugee ID cards by the Foreigner Regional Registration Office.

The Centre also opposed the plea that Rohingyas may be treated like Sri Lankan Tamil refugees here saying that the comparison with Sri Lankan refugees was "ill-founded and misconceived".

It said certain relief facilities to the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees has its genesis in the Indo-Ceylon agreement of 1964.

In another plea, Rohingyas had claimed that according to the understanding between the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees got access to education and health care facilities, but these were denied to Rohingyas.

They had also sought protection and welfare of Rohingyas in India against the August 8, 2017 proposal of the MHA directing all states and Union territories to expeditiously initiate deportation process against illegal immigrants from Rakhine province in Myanmar.

They had earlier approached the apex court opposing the Centre's decision to deport over 40,000 refugees who came to India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination and violence against the community.

Various other pleas, including those by ex-RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader K N Govindacharya, the CPI(M) youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the West Bengal child rights body have been filed in the apex court on the matter.

The court had suggested to the Centre not to deport these refugees, but the Centre had urged that it should not be written in the order as anything coming on record would have international ramifications.

The Rohingyas, who fled to India after violence in the Western Rakhine State of Myanmar, are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

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