India's top court delays decision on possible eviction of Rohingya refugees

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In a blow to the Union government, the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday stayed the Centre's plan to deport all illegal Rohigya immigrants till the next hearing in the case on November 21. "The issue involves human rights of many", the top court said in its observation. It, however, allowed petitioners to approach it in case of contingency. "Moreover, India's credibility as a net security provider for our neighbours in the region would be severely compromised if we fail to act on behalf of our broader interests in the region", they said.

India's Supreme Court has postponed a decision on whether the government can evict about 40,000 Rohingya Muslims who have taken refuge in the country, an attorney said Friday.

The top court made it clear that there was a need for holistic hearing and it is neither going to be swayed by the arguments of senior lawyer Fali S Nariman, who is representing the petitioners, nor by any other senior counsel and the submissions have to go by the letter of the law.

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A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing the petition filed by Rohingya Muslims challenging the government's stand to deport them back to Myanmar.

The bench said the whole issue of Rohingya Muslims has to be looked at from various angles like national security, economic interest, labour interest and also the protection of children, women, sick and innocent persons. The petition argues that deportation would violate their human rights.

"India's stated policy position in global fora and as mentioned throughout in policy statements and notifications, has been to recognise the distinction between refugees who are forced out for their countries due to persecution and illegal migrants who come in search of economic prospects", he said.

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On Thursday, a group of eminent personalities urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not deport Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers, saying a proposal that the entire community is a threat to national security is based on "false assumption".

They contend that many Rohingyas, who had fled to India after the earlier spate of violence, are settled in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.

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