Ministry matters

India’s Home Ministry says Rohingya refugees will be deported after housing minister promises flats – JURIST

On Wednesday, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) refuse issued instructions to provide accommodation for Rohingya refugees hours after Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that the government would house them.

In a press release, the MHA said the ministry had not issued any orders to provide Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) flats to Rohingya “illegal migrants” at Bakkarwala in New Delhi. The press release said the Delhi government had offered to relocate the Rohingya to a new location. However, the ministry had directed the Delhi government to ensure that they continue to stay at their current location at Kanchan Kunj in Delhi.

The MHA said it had already raised the issue of Rohingya deportation to Myanmar through the Foreign Ministry. Describing the Rohingya refugees as “illegal aliens,” the press release further stated:

Illegal aliens shall be kept in the detention center until deported according to law. The Delhi government has not declared the current location as a detention centre. They were asked to do the same immediately.

The policy shift began with a series of tweets earlier today in which the housing minister announced the government’s decision to transfer Rohingya refugees to EWS apartments. Puri had said the Rohingya would receive basic amenities, as well as identification documents issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and 24-hour police protection in what he called a “historic decision “. Puri had also reprimanded those who had criticized the government’s refugee policy. He tweeted that:

However, Puri then shared MHA’s clarification that the “press release regarding the Rohingya illegal aliens issue gives the right position.” Here, Puri also referred to the Rohingya as “illegal aliens” as opposed to “refugees”, as he had done in his earlier tweets: