India denies it will provide homes to Rohingya in capital

Hours after a federal minister said the refugees would be given apartments in New Delhi, the home ministry denied media reports.

Hours after a federal minister said Rohingyas would be given apartments in the capital, India’s home ministry has denied making such a suggestion, saying the refugees would be held in detention centers and eventually deported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that mainly Muslim refugees from Myanmar living in New Delhi would be given apartments and police protection.

“India has always welcomed those who have sought asylum,” Puri posted. “India respects and adheres to the UN Refugee Convention 1951 and provides asylum to all irrespective of race, religion or creed.”

But soon after Puri’s tweet, the Union Home Ministry headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s closest aide – Amit Shah – refuted the media reports.

“Regarding reports in some sections of the media about Rohingya illegal aliens, it is clarified that the Ministry of Home Affairs has not issued any directives to provide EWS (Economically Weaker) flats to Rohingya illegal immigrants in Bakarwala, New Delhi,” the Home Ministry said in a statement. Refers to the southern neighborhood.

The ministry said the “illegal aliens” would be held in detention centers until they could be deported to Myanmar. “The current location has not been declared as a detention center by the (state) government of Delhi. They are directed to do so immediately,” it said.

Modi’s government has previously tried to deport the Rohingya back to majority Buddhist Myanmar, which saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing years of persecution and violence in their homeland.

India is not a signatory to the Convention, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of countries to protect refugees.

Bangladesh is hosting nearly one million Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee camp in the south of the country.

As of earlier this year, about 1,100 Rohingya lived in New Delhi and another 17,000 in India, many of them working as manual laborers, hawkers and rickshaw pullers, Rohingya rights activist Ali Johar estimated.

Johar, 27, came to India a decade ago and lives in a rented house in New Delhi. He said about 2,000 people have gone back to Bangladesh this year, fearing that many will be deported as some right-wing Hindu groups continue to target them.



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