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Should illegal immigrants get ‘refugee’ status: Centre asks SC to take a call

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, July 09: The Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether illegal immigrants in India should be given the status of 'refugee.'

The court decided to examine the matter after the Centre told it to decide on the substantial question whether illegal immigrants to India should be given the status of refugees.

Should illegal immigrants get ‘refugee’ status: Centre asks SC to take a call

On July 4 the court had agreed to hear a PIL seeking identification and deportation of all illegal immigrants and infiltrators including Bangladesh nationals and Rohingyas. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta took note of submission of lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay that his plea, which was filed in 2017, be listed for an urgent hearing.

"It would be listed for hearing on July 9," the bench, which also comprised Justice Deepak Gupta had said. Upadhyay, in his plea, has also favoured the Centre's stand to identify and deport to Myanmar around 40,000 illegal Rohingya Muslims staying here.

The plea has sought a direction to the Centre and the state governments to identify, detain and deport all illegal migrants and infiltrators, including Bangladesh nationals and Rohingyas.

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"The large-scale illegal migrants, particularly from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have not only threatened the demographic structure of bordering districts but have seriously impaired the security and national integration, particularly in the present circumstances," the plea said.

The plea alleged there was an organised influx of illegal immigrants from Myanmar through agents and touts facilitating illegal immigrants Rohingyas via Benapole-Haridaspur and Hilli (West Bengal), Sonamora (Tripura), Kolkata and Guwahati. "This situation is seriously harming the national security of the country," it said.

The court is also seized of a separate plea of two Rohingya immigrants, Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, and the plea said that Rohingyas had taken refuge in India after escaping from Myanmar due to widespread discrimination, violence and bloodshed against the community there.

Former RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader K N Govindacharaya had also moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene in the pending PIL filed by Rohingyas. He had opposed the plea of two Rohingya refugees saying they are a burden on country's resources and pose a serious threat to national security.

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