HomeMost CommentedGovt flats to Rohingya refugees trigger row, home ministry clarifies

Govt flats to Rohingya refugees trigger row, home ministry clarifies

NEW DELHI: A controversy erupted on Wednesday over allotment of government flats to Rohingya refugees in Delhi. Critics said it was against the Centre’s earlier claims that the Rohingya Muslims were not refugees but illegal immigrants and that the Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus from Pakistan living as refugees in the national capital should have been given priority in allotment of flats.
The outrage started after housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tweet, 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 (Economically Weaker Section) flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees identity cards) and round-the-clock @DelhiPolice protection.”
Puri further said, “Those who made a career out of spreading canards on India’s refugee policy deliberately linking it to #CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) will be disappointed. India respects & follows @UN Refugee Convention 1951 and provides refuge to all, regardless of their race, religion or creed.”

India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision all #Rohingya… https://t.co/ac3UySYPQf

— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) 1660701756000
As the criticism of the Modi government grew, the office of Union home minister Amit Shah quickly issued a clarification.
The home minister's office said in a series of three tweets, "With respect to news reports in certain sections of 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."
It further said, " The government of Delhi proposed to shift the Rohingyas to a new location. MHA has directed the GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) to ensure that the Rohingya illegal foreigners will continue at the present location as MHA has already taken up the matter of their deportation with the concerned country through MEA."
The home ministry finally said, "Illegal foreigners are to be kept in 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."

With respect to news reports in certain sections of media regarding Rohingya illegal foreigners, it is clarified th… https://t.co/iQl3jLX7t4

— गृहमंत्री कार्यालय, HMO India (@HMOIndia) 1660728010000
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi hit back at the Centre after the home ministry's clarification.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia accused the central government of attempting to secretly settle the Rohingya Muslims in the national capital.
He said, "After AAP's protest, the central government has now started blaming the Delhi government for the news over which it was not getting tired of taking credit since morning. The fact is that the central government was surreptitiously trying to give permanent residence to the Rohingya."
Sisodia further said, "The officials and the police took the decision on the central government's signal and at the behest of the L-G (lieutenant governor). They sent the decision for the L-G's approval without showing it to the Delhi chief minister of home minister. The Delhi government will not allow this conspiracy of illegally settle the Rohingya in Delhi to succeed."

केंद्र सरकार सुबह सुबह जिस खबर को अपनी उपलब्धि बताती नहीं थक रही थी, आम आदमी पार्टी द्वारा विरोध किए जाने पर , अब इ… https://t.co/GcjOXmNTOz

— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) 1660738898000
Meanwhile, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, whose tweets had triggered the controversy, later changed his stance and called the home ministry's stand as the "correct position."
He said, "The home ministry’s press release with respect to the issue of Rohingya illegal foreigners gives out the correct position."

Home Ministry’s press release with respect to the issue of Rohingya illegal foreigners gives out the correct positi… https://t.co/PJJxH7GK7g

— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) 1660743811000
Earlier, several people criticised the Centre for its stand on the Rohingya Muslims.
Former Tripura and Meghalaya governor Tathagat Roy alleged that the BJP government had taken a suicidal step.
He said, “This is INCREDIBLE Sir! Rohingya Muslims are illegal infiltrators, not refugees, under the CAA! They are distinctly unwelcome even in Muslim-majority Bangladesh! Have we bid goodbye to all our principles? Are we about to light our own funeral pyre! @narendramodi @PMOIndia”

This is INCREDIBLE Sir! Rohingiya Muslims are illegal infiltrators,not refugees,under the CAA! They are distinctly… https://t.co/5xWSBFHNFx

— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) 1660712518000
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) opposed Puri's remarks. VHP's central working president Alok Kumar said, "Instead of housing the Rohingyas, push them out of Bharat."

Press Statement:Instead of Housing Rohingyas, push them out of Bharat: Alok Kumar https://t.co/pv6Yl3Cele

— Vishva Hindu Parishad -VHP (@VHPDigital) 1660721472000
A verified Twitter handle @FrustIndian going by the name The Frustrated Indian posted an old video clip of home minister Amit Shah, in which he is heard saying in Parliament that Rohingya people come through Bangladesh and that they would never be given refuge in India. “It is one thing to promise something in election rallies and then not follow it. But respect the Parliament at least where you made such tall claims.”

It is one thing to promise something in election rallies and then not follow it. But respect the Parliament at leas… https://t.co/0sGcZxP996

— The Frustrated Indian (@FrustIndian) 1660713168000
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit lamented that the Modi government gave primacy to settling the Rohingya refugees even though Kashmiri Pandits were living as refugees in their own country.
He tweeted: “Sir it is a blunder. India will face its consequences later. We are protecting them from whom? #KashmiriPandits who are refugees in their own country are still in a pathetic condition in #Jammu. Please visit #Jagti & colonies of #KashmiriPandits in #Kashmir. Sad.”

Sir Its a blunder . India will face its consequences later . We are protecting them from whom ?#KashmiriPandits… https://t.co/PNzOAj0b0Z

— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) 1660712564000
The BJP’s rival Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), governing Telangana, took a dig at it. TRS’s social media convener Y Sathish Reddy asked the BJP to discipline its leaders such as Nizamabad MP D Arvind who were targeting the regional party for “encouraging” Rohingya refugees.
Reddy said, “Kindly educate your party MP @Arvindharmapuri, who is speaking utter nonsense and falsely accusing the state government or is he rebelling against your own party’s decision? Or is it ‘One party, Many Tongues’?”

Mr Hardeep ji, Kindly educate your Party MP @Arvindharmapuri, who is speaking utter non sense & falsely accusing… https://t.co/67xfPyf5iD

— YSR (@ysathishreddy) 1660718160000
Others demanded a better deal for Hindu refugees from Pakistan first.
Actor Swaroop Rawal, who is the wife of actor and former BJP MP Paresh Rawal, said, “Please extend similar support to 'Hindu #refugees from Pakistan'. They arrived well before the Rohingya refugees arrived and are living in Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc. Sir, they are living in abysmal conditions. They need our help. Visit Majnu ka Tila and Signature bridge #refugee camp.”

Please extend similar support to ‘Hindu #refugees from Pakistan’. They arrived well before the Rohingya refugees ar… https://t.co/fZcs4cJro5

— Swaroop Rawal (@YoSwaroop) 1660721381000
Founder of Humanitarian Aid International Sudhanshu S Singh’s views were similar to that of Sampat. He said, “Being a humanitarian organisation we appreciate this. However, I also wonder why the government does not extend similar support to Pakistani-Hindu refugees who have been living in Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc., much before the Rohingya refugees arrived.”

1. Being a humanitarian organisation we appreciate this. However, I also wonder why does the govt not extend simila… https://t.co/pUC34T551a

— Sudhanshu S Singh (@sssingh21) 1660709827000

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