According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the government of India is approaching the issue with focus on illegal migrants. The government is not working on how to push them out but on a systematic deportation process.
“What needs to be done with them is being discussed,” MHA advisor Ashok Prasad told NDTV.
The ministry recently issued a circular advising all state governments to identify Rohingyas and start their deportation process. But the first step to identify them is very cumbersome. If one refuses that he or she is a Rohingya, it would be very difficult to establish their identity.
And even if the identity is established, the country they belong to has to be notified. However, if Myanmar refuses to ascertain their identities, then the entire process renders useless.
“Our men are guarding borders 24×7 but it is very difficult to establish who is an illegal migrant along borders as some areas are so porous,” Director General of Border Security Force KK Pathak told NDTV.
According to the estimates, the maximum number of infiltration is happening along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
The government is also in a bind as there is no clear established law as to how to deport back Rohingyas as of now. The notification regarding Bangladeshis on the other hand, clearly spells out details on how to go about deporting them.
The problem is more peculiar as the Indian law does not define a ‘refugee’. The home ministry says that as far as Rohingyas are concerned, the government does not recognise them as refugees. For them they are just illegal migrants.
Though some of them have been given long-term visas, the figure is not very high. On the other hand, MHA categorically says that since the government is not signatory of UNHRC, it does not recognise the UNCHR cards which have been provided to over 16,000 Rohingyas.
India, however, clarified that that the country is concerned about illegal migrants and enforcing the laws should not be mistaken for ‘lack of compassion’.