Varun Gandhi’s editorial cites several international sources to describe the Rohingya refugees as victims of foreign policy and domestic politics.
The 37-year-old MP from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh has, in an article today, advocated asylum for Rohingya Muslims who have escaped the violence in Myanmar, a view that is in contrast to what the government has advocated.
In an editorial today in Navbharat Times, Varun Gandhi writes that Rohingya refugees should not be deported but treated humanely. Hansraj Ahir, Minister of State for Home, said Mr Gandhi’s view is “against national interest.”
Varun Gandhi, whose mother Maneka Gandhi is a union minister, told NDTV, “I’ve called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns.”
The government told the Supreme Court just days ago that it will confidentially show evidence to judges that some Rohingya militants work closely with Pakistan-based terrorist groups. The centre has said it will deport all 40,000 Rohingyas who, it says, are illegal immigrants. The move has been challenged in court by two Rohingya petitioners who said that their community is peace-loving and that most of them have no link to any terror activity.
The government says that most of the Rohingya in India are not part of the exodus that began from the Rakhine region on western Myanmar in August. It says intelligence agencies believe that Rohingya militant commanders plan to incite communal violence in India.
The government says it will deport all 40,000 Rohingya living in India (Representational photo)
Mr Gandhi’s Hindi editorial cites several international sources to describe the Rohingya refugees as victims of foreign policy and domestic politics. In a complete contradiction of the government stand which says that India is not bound by international laws, as it is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention treaty, Mr Gandhi says that India has subscribed to the regional SAARC Terrorism Protocol treaty, where Article 17 says that the country will not deport anyone who may be persecuted due to their faith.
But Mr Ahir was categorical in rejecting that claim. “Anyone who cares about national interest will never give such a statement,” said the junior Home Minister.
Mr Gandhi has in recent years taken on his party on a range of issues, suggesting that farmers are not receiving the help they are entitled to during the deep, ongoing agrarian crisis. He was sidelined in his party’s list of star campaigners for the Uttar Pradesh election earlier this year, though it is his home state. In August, he attacked the centre’s decision to allow raises for parliamentarians, telling NDTV that by calling for pay hikes repeatedly, law-makers were shifting the “moral compass of the House.”