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Rohingya row: Centre, Delhi Govt continue exchanging barbs

“National security is of utmost importance to us and like we have said before, illegal immigrants won’t be given shelter here; MEA in talks to send them back to their countries,” the Information & Broadcasting Minister said.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The controversy over the shifting of Rohingya illegal migrants to Economic Weaker Section (EWS) flats at Bakkarwala in New Delhi, triggered by Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri tweet yesterday, refused to die down with the Centre and the Delhi government trading charges for the second day today.

Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur accused the Delhi government of distributing ‘Revaris’ to Rohingyas.

He said, “Rohingyas who live here and are illegal migrants are given free water, electricity, ration; now even flats were to be given to them by Delhi government… they have lied again, distributed ‘Revaris’… why could he (Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal) not ready detention centers.”

They (AAP government) are ready to compromise national security for vote bank politics, he said. “National security is of utmost importance to us and like we have said before, illegal immigrants won’t be given shelter here; MEA in talks to send them back to their countries,” the minister said.

“I would like to clarify, HMO has articulately said that Rohingya illegal migrants won’t be considered citizens of India. They will be sent back; MEA is in talks for the same. This is the last statement,” he added.

Earlier, addressing a press conference, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he had written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah urging him to clarify the Union government’s stand before the nation on the shifting of Rohingya illegal migrants to Economic Weaker Section (EWS) flats at Bakkarwala in New Delhi.

Sisodia said, “Neither the CM nor HM of Delhi had knowledge of it, we got to know through newspapers that a scheme to provide flats to Rohingyas is going on.”

The Delhi Deputy Chief Minister said he asked the officers and got to know some meetings did take place where Central Government officers were present.

“When I asked for details of the meeting, I saw that it was mentioned in the files that for the approval by the Central Government, it was being directly sent through CS to the LG. It was completely hidden from the elected Government of Delhi, why this conspiracy?” Sisodia said.

“Now the HMO has issued a statement taking a different stand. If the Centre is against it then who was doing this? Union Minister Hardeep Puri had tweeted the same, appreciating the move. I have written to the HM to clarify this before the nation. This should be probed,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

The Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs in a tweet on Wednesday had said, “India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision all #Rohingya #Refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs, and round-the-clock police protection.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) later clarified that it had not given any directions to provide EWS flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in the national capital.

The clarification came after Housing Minister Puri lauded the decision to shift nearly 1,100 Rohingya refugees in Delhi to flats equipped with basic facilities. “With respect to news reports in certain sections of the media regarding Rohingya illegal foreigners, it is clarified that Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has not given any directions to provide EWS flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi,” the MHA said in a statement. The Delhi government proposed to shift the Rohingyas to a new location, it said.

The MHA has directed the Government of Delhi to ensure that the Rohingya illegal foreigners will continue at the present location at Kanchan Kunj, Madanpur Khadar as MHA has already taken up the matter of deportation of illegal foreigners with the concerned country through the Ministry of External Affairs, the MHA said.

“Illegal foreigners are to be kept in the Detention Centre till their deportation as per law. The Government of Delhi has not declared the present location as a Detention Centre. They have been directed to do the same immediately,” the MHA added.

Following sharp reactions from various political parties on the issue of Rohingya illegal migrants, Puri on Wednesday evening apparently backtracked saying that Home Ministry’s press release gives out the correct position.

Taking to Twitter, the minister on Wednesday responded, “Home Ministry’s press release with respect to the issue of Rohingya illegal foreigners gives out the correct position.”