New Delhi’s stand before the Supreme Court of India terming the Rohingya Muslims as illegal immigrants has evoked sharp criticism from clerics and opposition parties alike. They have also accused the government of violating the fundamental rights of refugees. One clerics from Kolkata is even reported to have gone to the extent of threatening the Center with bloodshed and riots if the Rohingya Muslims are deported from the state.
Addressing a huge rally in Kolkata on September 18, cleric Maulana Shabbir Ali Azad Warsi demanded for the settlement of Rohingyas in the country. He further said that despite the Muslims in the country being a minority community, they are, by no means, “weak”. What was provocative and an incitement to violence was his comment:
We are Hussaini Muslims. Even if we are 72, we can kill lakhs.
Maulana Warsi was also heard issuing a sort of ultimatum to the central government, saying that Rohingya Muslims are “our brothers” and that “we all Muslims (everywhere in the world) are brothers”. Further saying that “this is Bengal, not Assam, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Muzaffarnagar or Muzaffarpur.” The cleric expressed his rage at New Delhi’s report claiming links between some Rohingya Muslims, Pakistan’s ISI and the ISIS.
State chief minister Mamata Banerjee has also expressed her reservations about the center’s intelligence report to the Supreme Court. Saying that the commoners should not suffer, the West Bengal CM elaborated:
I think all commoners are not terrorists. There are bad people and good people in every community. There is a difference between commoners and terrorists. Commoners must not suffer because if they do then humanity will suffer. I think that in accordance with the UN verdict we should not compromise our humanity with anything else.
In its report to the Supreme Court, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) categorically stated that the fundamental right to settle in any part of the country is relegated only to the citizens of the country and not the Rohingyas, who are immigrants. Urging the apex court not to invoke its jurisdiction in favor of the Rohingyas, the MHA said that this issue “fell under the exclusive domain of policy decision of the executive”.
The MHA further noted that the citizens’ rights like right to life and employment get adversely affected due to the burden on resources posed by the Rohingyas, whose numbers have now swelled to over 40,000.