“Illegal Rohingya refugees are a threat to national security”
This was the precise argument of the Modi government when it filed an affidavit, in 2017, in the Supreme Court defending the deportation of illegal migrants from the country.
In fact, the BJP remains the only major political party that has been crystal clear on its stand against illegal immigration from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
It remains the only party that does not consider unlawfully settled immigrants as its natural reserve of voters.
The only party that has not only stood for the rights of persecuted religious minorities from neighbouring Islamic countries but has also passed a law that expedites grant of citizenship to them, despite a concerted campaign to label the humanitarian move as “communal” by its detractors.
It is in this context that a recent tweet by the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs stands out conspicuously.
About the Controversy
On Wednesday, Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that many Rohingya refugees would be shifted to EWS flats in the Bakkarwala area of New Delhi and would be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs and round-the-clock security.
The announcement was met with criticism from the party supporters and sympathisers. After a few hours, the Home Ministry came out with a statement clarifying its position on the matter.
It said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has not given any directions to provide EWS flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi.
The MHA added that it was the Delhi government that sent a letter asking for Rohingyas to be shifted to a new location.
However, the MHA directed the Delhi government not to relocate the illegal foreigners as their deportation process was already underway.
What have BJP Leaders said in the past on the issue?
There has been a unanimous view of the party, from the top tier to the ground worker, that the illegal settlements of Rohingya Muslims, as well as Bangladesh immigrants, is a serious national security concern.
In 2019, before the assembly elections, the then BJP President Amit Shah had called the illegal Bangladeshi migrants, settled in West Bengal and patronised by the ruling governments, as “termites” and vowed to throw them out of the country.
During the 2022 Uttarakhand elections, Amit Shah accused the Congress government in the state of providing settlements, ration cards and Aadhar to Rohingya migrants in the hill state.
Speaking on Myanmar's political crisis in 2021, Shah clarified that India would extend help to the people of Myanmar but would not encourage illegal infiltration from the country.
In an interview with a news agency, back in 2017, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had stated that those who have fled from Myanmar are intruders and not refugees. He added that they have links to terrorists, pointing out his government’s tough stand on the matter.
In fact, his government has gone on to demolish illegal encroachment of Rohingya immigrants on state’s land worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
During a campaign in Hyderabad, Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy told the reporters that the government has details of Rohingya settlers in the state and warned of strict action against them once the BJP wins the civic polls.
In 2018, a BJP delegation led by Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party general secretary Arun Singh and its national media head Anil Baluni, submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission against the illegal inclusion of names of Rohingya Muslims in the voter list of 15 assembly constituencies in Hyderabad.
They alleged that it was done in connivance with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Congress.
Any voice, coming from the BJP, in support of Rohingya Muslims has been strictly reprimanded.
The party suspended one of its leaders in Assam, Benazir Arfan, for uploading a Facebook post urging people to attend a protest against the treatment meted out to the Rohingyas by the Myanmar government.
When BJP MP Varun Gandhi wrote an article urging the government to show mercy on Rohingya migrants, it drew an angry reaction from the Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir, who said anybody who has national interest in mind would not make such a statement.
He reiterated that Rohingya settlers are a security threat.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the detention and deportation of illegal Rohingya migrants began, amidst a negative campaign launched by some quarters of the international media.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which has been ruling Delhi since 2015, is being seen as equally responsible for nurturing illegal Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants.
It is accused of providing them with houses, electricity, water connections, voter IDs, Aadhar card, and ration cards.
Not only that, it has also avoided answering opposition questions in the assembly on why it is against implementing NRC in the capital, which aims to identify illegal immigrants residing in Delhi.
In May 2018, it was reported that Rohingya refugees, who lost their homes in fire at Kanchan Kunj camp in Kalindi Kunj, were promised Rs 25,000 compensation each by AAP MLA from Okhla Amanatullah Khan.
The AAP government, which is blaming the BJP for settling Rohingyas in the capital, had submitted in the High Court that it was providing adequate rations to Rohingya families at three camps in South and North-East parts of the city.
In fact, all opposition parties, from AAP to Congress, from TRS to TMC, from SP to BSP, have time and again lobbied for illegal migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh to be allowed to encroach upon government land and be provided facilities at the taxpayers’ expense.
The BJP, on the other hand, has been consistent with its position on Rohingya and Bangladesh illegal migrants, which is not allowing them to become permanent settlers in the country and encroach upon the rights of its citizens.
Also Read: Modi Government Must Dump CAA For CAA 2.0
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