Amidst growing chorus of Rohingya refugees being national security threat in India, one such Rohingya petitioner has asserted in the Supreme Court that they are not illegal immigrants but refugees who fled Myanmar and came to India for shelter in wake of their persecution on the grounds of their religion and community identity and were entitled to all protection under the international conventions on refugees and treaties.
Contesting the Central government’s stand that they being foreign nationals enjoyed no protection under the Indian Constitution, Rohingya refugee Mohammad Salimullah, who has moved the top court, seeking its protection from being deported said that protection under Article 14 – guaranteeing equality before law and Article 21 – guaranteeing protection of life and liberty was available to both Indian citizens and non-citizens alike. In his rejoinder to the Central government’s affidavit, he said: “Rohingya are not involved in any act of militancy. They are a fleeing persecuted ethnic minority whose only claim is to peaceful asylum. Any individual case of involvement in militancy may be dealt with by the governmental in accordance with the law of the land “there cannot be a general assumption that entire Rohingya community in India is involved in militancy related activities.”