The Supreme Court Thursday ruled that Rohingya refugees detained in Jammu shall not be deported to Myanmar without following the prescribed procedure.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde delivered its order on a plea filed by a Rohingya refugee through Advocate Prashant Bhushan.
According to the petition, “these refugees have been illegally detained and jailed in the Jammu Sub Jail, which has been converted into a holding center, with the IGP (Jammu) Mukesh Singh stating that they face deportation back to Myanmar after verification by their embassy.”
In response to reports of their “urgent…deportation,” the petition stated, “This goes against India’s commitment to refugee protection and its obligations against refouling refugees to a place where they seek asylum, and is a violation of the Article 21 rights of all Rohingya persons living in India.”
However, the Supreme Court’s decision means that Rohingyas can now be deported back to Myanmar, rejecting a clause in the petition that sought a halt in the deportation process and the provision of refugee cards to Rohingyas.
Earlier this month, UNHCR and rights groups condemned India’s decision to deport a 14-year-old Rohingya girl to Myanmar.
Last month, the Jammu and Kashmir administration established “holding centers” under the Foreigners Act in Kathua’s Hiranagar sub-jail, rounding up 168 Rohingya. Thousands of Rohingya tribals from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state have fled to India and Bangladesh as a result of an alleged crackdown by the Myanmar Army.