The recent deportation of seven illegal Rohingyas from the country is a significant step by the government, but there’s more to this than meets the eye.
Let’s be honest, the Rohingya are a problem. It’s not that all of them are radicalised Islamist extremists — though some certainly are, have been proven as such, and we have to be ruthless in dealing with them — but all of them definitely are illegal immigrants because the Government of India has not accepted any refugees from the Rakhine Province of Myanmar (Burma). These are the incontrovertible facts.
Now, with seven illegals who entered India through Assam having been deported to Myanmar from Moreh in Manipur where they had been kept in custody within moments of the Supreme Court rightly refusing to intervene in the deportation, the issue of the Rohingya in India, over 40,000 of them by Government estimates, has not only taken centre stage but is likely to become a poll issue for both the forthcoming State Assembly elections and the General Election due in 2019.
The truth of the matter is, though, that while in a significant decision Yangon has accepted the seven Rohingya as bona fide citizens of Myanmar who had crossed over illegally into India where the appropriate courts held them to be illegals which is why their deportation passed off without any hitch, it is highly unlikely that our friendly neighbouring country will have the same approach towards the tens of thousands of Rohingya staying illegally in India. Our other friendly neighbouring country, Bangladesh, has meanwhile flatly refused to accept that even a single Rohingya in India is a citizen of its country thereby ruling out deportation.
The conclusion we must necessarily draw, therefore, is that while the deportation of the seven illegals is significant it may not be the start of a process that will get India rid of its unwelcome visitors as much as the ruling dispensation may like to create such an impression. For one, the Myanmar Government has, as reported in The Pioneer, conveyed to India that any illegal Rohingya immigrants in India must be identified as such only on the basis of a separate, bilingual nationality verification form provided by them.
In addition, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was told in no uncertain terms that Myanmar would not entertain any other verification method and would go only by its Rohingya database. The illegals, meanwhile, are voting with their feet — fearful of further deportations and/or long overdue action against them which the BJP Government to its credit has initiated, there are credible reports being inquired into by the Union Home Ministry that they are migrating, this time internally, to State such as Kerala and West Bengal where the feel for whatever reasons that they will not be targeted. Simultaneously, as another ground report from Rohingya camps in Delhi in The Pioneer has brought out, many families are desperately seeking Indian Muslim grooms for female members so they can stay on.
All of which goes to underline that the primary motivation for this illegal migration is economic. While one may sympathise with those Rohingya refugees not co-opted by radicalism and here only to build a better life for their families, given India’s own teeming millions are still bereft of even the essentials of life the limited resources of the state cannot and must not be spent on non-citizens.
Courtesy: The Pioneer