Treat Rohingyas—unwanted by Islamic states—as illegal immigrants and security threat – Prabhu Chawla

Rohingya Refugees
Prabhu Chawla is the editorial director of The New Indian ExpressWhy do Muslim refugees invariably seek asylum in non-Islamic nations in Europe and Asia, instead of the Middle East or Pakistan? Why do Rohingyas settle in the sensitive Jammu and Kashmir state, instead of moving to Pakistan or Afghanistan? – Prabhu Chawla

No two letters tickle or titillate India’s bleeding heart elite than M for Muslim and K for Kashmir. Legitimate and well-documented criticism of extremists and stone-pelters and illegal immigrants such as Rohingya Muslims flooding the country throws them into a tailspin. They dismiss the harm to Indian soldiers in encounters and the threat to the Indian security system from religiously motivated terrorists as “chalta hai”. They take to the social media, television debates, columns and blogs to defend the so-called seekers of shelter in refugee garb.

Citing ethnic and religious affinities, they whip up organised frenzy against “growing intolerance” and “persecution of minorities”. “Whataboutery” is the excuse of the day. The secular intelligentsia use facile arguments such as “if Hindu refugees from Pakistan are welcomed, why should India be hostile towards Rohingyas?” They deliberately ignore the fact that Partition involved a traumatic exodus between two parts of undivided India, before Pakistan was even born.

Those who crossed into New India were Indians, though they were labelled refugees for official rehabilitation purposes. They didn’t change their citizenship. They were Indians before 1947 and remain so. On the other hand, Muslims who crossed over from India were not called refugees in newborn Pakistan, which was created on the basis of religion. Hardly has any Muslim left their ancestral habitat to settle in India—logical, considering Pakistan was carved out of India to create a Islamic nation. But India chose to be secular and supported Muslims who did not wish to move to Pakistan to stay on in the country.

Logically, oppressed and suppressed people, such as the Hindus during Partition, should migrate to a nation most suited to their lifestyle, faith and culture. But why do Muslim refugees invariably seek asylum in non-Islamic nations in Europe and Asia, instead of the Middle East or Pakistan? Why do Rohingyas settle in the sensitive Jammu and Kashmir state, instead of moving to Pakistan or Afghanistan? It’s not that they don’t try. They are simply not welcome. By 2013, Bangladesh had closed all the entry points to Rohingyas, burdened by the massive influx into refugee camps in their territory. The Malaysian Navy has stopped them from disembarking on the Malay coastline. The Indonesian government warned fishermen against rescuing and bringing Rohingyas into the country.

The large-scale illegal migration of Muslims to greener pastures is not confined to Rohingyas. Muslims fleeing dictatorship, terrorism and war in various Islamic countries have been denied refuge by rich Islamic nations. Ever since the rise of terror outfits such as Al Qaeda and IS, over half a million Muslim men, women and children have fled Syria, Yemen and other Middle Eastern nations to Europe, instead of the 50-odd Muslim-majority countries.

Of the estimated 15 million such immigrants, fewer than three million have been given shelter by rich Arab nations. It is evident that even the worse kind of persecuted Muslim refugees do not trust countries of similar faith as comfortable and secure destinations to spend the rest of their lives. Instead, they make for non-Islamic countries to spread their religion and gain wealth and good education. It is, therefore, understandable that host governments should consider them a threat to national integrity and security as well as an economic burden.

But logic and facts are alien to liberal lamenters hostile to the idea of nationhood based on cultural identity and religious, historical homogeneity. India is a singular example of unity and diversity derived from its 5,000-year-old heritage of inclusiveness and tolerance. But vested interests, which seek to divide it again along religious affiliations, have been exploiting its patience as its weakness. India is now a reluctant home for over four million illegal immigrants from the neighbourhood.

Now that stone-pelters in Kashmir have been silenced and tamed, professional secularists and their political icons have taken up the “noble” cause of allowing Rohingyas to live and flourish in India even at the cost of national security. Since consistency has never been a virtue, a few of them even sought the withdrawal of the Noble Peace Prize awarded to Myanmar’s State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, for terming the Rohingya crisis as “the biggest challenge we have had to face.”

She defended her government’s tough stand by saying, “It is a little unreasonable to expect us to solve the issue in 18 months … as the situation in Rakhine has been such since many decades and goes back to pre-colonial times. We have to decide how to differentiate terrorists from innocents. You in India would be well-versed with this.”

It is a chilling reminder of Islamic terror, which India has been battling for decades. Instead of protecting the anti-terror fraternity, the paragons of secular virtue argue that Rohingyas have the right to live in India permanently since a 1951 United Nations Convention states that a person or a group of persons are forced to move out “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, and membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

They argue that since Rohingyas are victims of Buddhist violence, they should be treated as refugees and not illegal immigrants. But when it comes to the plight of over a lakh Kashmiri Pandits (KPs), who fled pogroms from the Valley, loony liberals and their sponsors are conspicuous by their absence at pro-KP agitations, discussions and debates. However, they want India to begin a dialogue with death, and leave the traders of terror intact. In this context, it is bizarre that the welfare of 40,000 Rohingyas is more precious than the lives of over a billion Indians.

Unfortunately, some international agencies, which are infected by similar ideological bacteria, have criticised India’s plans to deport the Rohingyas. A statement attributed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees advised, “India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations.” However, Rajiv K. Chander, Permanent Representative of India to the UN in Geneva, retorted: “Like many other nations, India is concerned about illegal migrants, in particular, with the possibility that they could pose security challenges. Enforcing the laws should not be mistaken for lack of compassion.”

The proponents of selective invocation of laws must realise that national security is not negotiable. The government must prove its legal neutrality by bringing illegal Rohingya immigrants under Indian law as envisaged by the Constitution, which guarantees the safety of “Socialist and Secular” Republic of India. – The New Sunday Express, 17 September 2014

» Prabhu Chawla is the editorial director of The New Indian Express, Chennai.

Illegal Rohingyas at prayer in Jammu

2 Responses

  1. Over 100 Hindus abducted and killed by Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, women forced to convert – India TV – Sept 27, 2017

    The discovery of three mass graves of Hindus in Myanmars Rakhine state have triggered a fresh debate over the Rohingya crisis that has attracted attention across from the world. It has now emerged that among those fleeing Rakhine are also Hindu families. It is said that around 100 Hindu families from Rakhine have fled to Bangladesh.

    In an exclusive chat with India TV in Bangladesh relief camps where they have taken shelter, many Hindu women said that they were abducted by Rohingya terrorists and were harassed by them. They said that Rohingyas also killed over 100 Hindus and either their dead bodies were buried or burnt. They also said that Rohingyas even forced them convert to Islam.

    A seven-month pregnant woman said that Rohigyas killed her family members and forced her to convert.

    According to Myanmar government forces, they have found 45 bodies of Hindu villagers, who authorities they say were killed by Rohingyas last month at the beginning of a violent clashes that resulted into fleeing of Muslim Rohingyas.

    The refugees said that Rohigyas terrorists were carrying weapons including swords, pistols, axes and bombs when then attacked Hindu villages and looted families. According to them, terrorists abducted at least 100 Hindus and took them to a nearby forest and killed them. Only eight women, who were in Rohingyas custody until authorities in Bangladesh secured their released after identifying them in the relief camps, said that many of them were pregnant, newly married or unmarried. They said that terrorists wanted to marry them after converting to Islam.

    They were beating my mother I managed to flee from the spot and secured the custody of my younger brother from mother later they come to me I am a newly married girl, they told me they will marry me, Raj Kamari said. I agreed to their terms and conditions only to ensure I am alive. When we were in Burma, they had beaten us. They showed us swords and told that our family members are no more. They dumped all bodies into a grave and burnt them. They even killed us our kids.

    The latest violence in Rakhine state began on August 25 when militants attacked about 30 police posts and an army camp. According to United Nations, some 4,80,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since violence broke out.


  2. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh

    Rohingya are not refugees but illegal migrants, says Rajnath Singh – Neeraj Chauhan – TNN – New Delhi – Sept 22, 2017

    NEW DELHI: Coming down heavily on human rights defenders batting for Rohingya Muslims, including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said the Rohingya were not refugees but illegal immigrants and reiterated that they would be deported.

    Asserting that India, as a sovereign nation, was free to take action against illegal immigrants, Singh said, “The issue of deportation of Rohingya is not a matter of ego and confrontation for India, but one of principles.”

    Singh questioned the motive of those opposing the government’s move to deport the Rohingya and asked, “When Myanmar has no problem in taking them back, why are some people (in India) objecting to their deportation?”

    Interestingly, the minister was speaking at a seminar themed on good governance, development and human rights organised by the NHRC, where its chairman and former CJI H L Dattu and other members of the rights body were present. Singh’s reaction came three days after the NHRC approached the Supreme Court opposing the government’s stand on deporting 40,000 Rohingya, who, it said, were illegally living in India and were a threat to national security.

    “Some people these days are talking about the rights of Rohingya, who have entered our country illegally. They have termed the deportation referring to the ‘non-refoulement principle’. But I want to tell them that the non-refoulement principle is applicable to those who take asylum. No Rohingya has got asylum in India nor have they applied for it. That is why we should not commit the mistake of according the status of refugees to illegal immigrants in the name of human rights,” Singh said.


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