New Delhi, Sep 13: As lakhs of Rohingyas in Myanmar are fleeing their homeland to save themselves from violence and persecution at the hands of the military in the country, around 40,000 of them staying as refugees in India are facing the risk of deportation.
Taking into consideration the risk involved in sending back the refugees to Myanmar right now, a group of Indian citizens have signed a petition addressed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh requesting him to continue granting asylum to the Rohingyas in India.
The petition, titled, India, Don't deport Rohingya refugees, has been started by Subodh Bedre, a resident of Mumbai. Those who are interested to sign the petition can visit change.org.
"It is an accepted fact that the Rohingyas are facing persecution and systemic abuse in Myanmar by Myanmarese officials and the state security apparatus. According to an United Nations (UN) report, the Rohingyas are facing extrajudicial executions or other killings, including by random shooting; enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention; rape, including gang rape, and other forms of sexual violence; physical assault including beatings; torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; looting and occupation of property; destruction of property; and ethnic and religious discrimination and persecution in Myanmar," the petition stated.
"In such a scenario, deporting the Rohingyas is nothing short of condemning them to hell," added the petition.
The petition cited Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju's earlier statement in Parliament where he stated that the government has issued detailed instructions for deportation of illegal foreign nationals including Rohingyas.
"While the honorable minister is right that India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, customary International law mandates not forcibly returning refugees to a place where they face a serious risk of persecution," stated the petition.
Bedre in the petition wrote, "I am just a common Indian citizen and have always been very proud of my country; not least because India has always provided a safe haven to persecuted people from all over the world. Right from the Jews (from Spain, Portugal, Iraq, Pakistan), the Parsees from Persia, and in recent times, people from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Do we not learn from our heritage, our culture, that it is a sin to drive away a 'sharanagati', a refugee?"
Till the time of filing this report, the petition has got 192 signatures supporting the cause of the Rohingyas.