Accra, Sept. 18 - (dpa/GNA) - Rohingya
refugees pose a "very serious and potential threat to national
security" in India and the Supreme Court must not interfere with plans to
deport them, the government in New Delhi told the judges on Monday.
Lawyers have challenged a government decision to deport over 40,000 Rohingya Muslims in India, most of whom crossed into the country following widespread riots in Buddhist-majority Myanmar's Rakhine state in 2012.
The case has received heightened attention as it is being heard against the backdrop of a recent military crackdown in Myanmar that has led to more than 400,000 Rohingya taking refuge in Bangladesh.
"The government submitted to court that it must not interfere with the executive policy decision on deporting the Rohingya and the court had no jurisdiction on the matter," said Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer who took the case on behalf of two Rohingya refugees in Delhi.
"Some of the Rohingya with militant background are also found to be very active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat, and have been identified as having a very serious and potential threat to the internal/national security of India," the government said in an affidavit in response to the petition.
The government said it had received intelligence that linked some Rohingya Muslims to Pakistan's ISI spy agency and the Islamic State extremist group, making them a "serious threat."
India has in the past blamed ISI of masterminding several militant attacks on the country's soil.
"The right to reside and settle in the country is available only to citizens and not to illegal immigrants," the government contended, asserting that India was not bound by the UN convention on refugees as it was not a signatory.
It also said the influx of illegal immigrants had a "direct detrimental effect on the fundamental and basic human rights of the country's own citizens."
The Rohingya have denied any link with terrorist groups. Bhushan has challenged their deportation saying it ran counter to India's constitution which provided rights to life and liberty to every person.
"The government has made a mention of these things [security threats] without providing any evidence for the same," Bhushan said, adding that under the Refugee Convention protection could be withdrawn from refugees suspected of militant activities.
"But you cannot say that merely because there are some inputs which suggest terrorist organizations are trying to radicalize them etcetera, therefore we will ignore human rights or rights under various international conventions," he added.
The government said it would file evidence and intelligence inputs before the court by October 3, the next hearing in the case.
Recently, the UN's top human rights body criticized the government plan to deport Rohingya, saying India "cannot carry collective expulsions or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations."
According to the UN, there are 16,000 registered Rohingya in India. Many remain undocumented.
Myanmar has not recognized the Rohingya among its 135 ethnic groups under a 1982 citizen act, and treats them as Bengalis. The Rohingya have continued to flee persecution in Myanmar, heading mainly to Bangladesh.