India on Thursday deported seven Rohingya to Myanmar, despite United Nations warnings that the men faced persecution in a country where the army is accused of genocide against the Muslim minority. "In parallel, the individuals also requested in 2016 that the embassy of the Union of Myanmar should issue them relevant travel documents to facilitate their return to their own country", it said.
Senior police officer Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said on Wednesday that the seven people were arrested in 2012 for entering India illegally and have been held in an Assam state prison. Government attorney Tushar Mehta told the judges that Myanmar had given the seven certificates of identity and 1-month visas to facilitate their deportation.
The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government, which regards them as illegal aliens and a potential security risk, has ordered that Rohingya living in small settlements and slums around the country be identified and deported.
Indian authorities handed the seven over to Myanmar officials at a border crossing in Moreh in Manipur state, according to a document signed by border authorities. Advocate Prashant Bhushan sought a PIL hearing in the Supreme Court of India to impede the Government from deporting the refugees of Rohingya which was trenched.
He said that authorities concerned caught them and put them in detention centre following their conviction by a competent court.
This is for the first time Rohingya immigrants were sent back to Myanmar from India.
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These are among the first deportations of Rohingyas from India since deadly attacks on police in Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017 sparked a military offensive.
"These are not illegal immigrants but refugees who have migrated due to genocide in their country".
An estimated 40,000 Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority, live in India after having fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar over the years.
"The Indian government has an worldwide legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection", UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said in a statement.
The deportation exercise was carried out by the government despite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on racism flagging concerns that their "forcible return" could lead to "refoulement" - the forcible return of refugees or asylum seekers to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution - which is in violation of global law.
At least 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar in the past year. CJI Gogoi also pointed out that the country of their origin, Myanmar, has identified them, and is ready to issue the COI.