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Detained in Jammu, SC reserves order against deportation of Rohingyas

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The Supreme Court has reserved orders in a plea seeking directions for release of the Rohingya refugees, rounded up and detained in Jammu this month, and preventing their deportation back to Myanmar. 

A bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramaniam was hearing an interim application filed by a PIL petitioner Mohammad Salimullah seeking directions for release of the Rohingya refugees who have been detained in Jammu and to restrain the Union Government from implementing any orders on deporting them, reported Live Law.

Arguing in the court on Friday, Advocate Prashant Bhushan referred to the order passed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last year against Myanmar to highlight that the Rohingyas were facing genocidal threat in Myanmar.

“This is a unanimous order of 15 judges of ICJ. The Court expressed concerns about genocide of Rohingyas of Rakhine state in Myanmar leading to their efflux from the country,” Advocate Bhushan submitted in Court.

Earlier this month, Jammu and Kashmir police had rounded up and detained over 160 Rohingyas living in concentration areas in Jammu division. Among the many fled fearing further detentions, several were arrested later in New Delhi too. Reports have quoted unidentified officials saying that the detentions were “part of an exercise to trace foreigners living in Jammu without valid documents… we have started the process of deportation of these refugees.”

Live Law reported that Bhushan then referred to the findings in the ICJ order regarding presence of “genocidal intent” and “systematic oppression and violence” against the Rohingya in Myanmar, to emphasize the Rohingya were ‘refugees’

In reply, the Solicitor General stated, “Mr Bhushan is reading this to show that there is some trouble in a country called Myanmar. I don’t object to that. But the question is, what to do with the refugees in this country.”

The Chief Justice then posed a question as to how the judgment was relevant to the present dispute.

To this, Advocate Bhushan replied that the Government has detained more than 150 Rohingya refugees in Jammu. “Most of them have identity cards issued by the UN Commissioner for Refugees,” he said.

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