The Union government has refused exit permit to an illegal migrant from Myanmar, stating that it has credible inputs from security agencies, regarding illegal Rohingya migrants currently staying in India, of having links with terror organisations based in Pakistan and other countries, which was a matter of great concern.
Filing an affidavit before the Delhi High Court, the Centre claimed that the most disturbing part was that there was an “organised influx” of illegal migrants from Myanmar through agents and touts, who were facilitating the entry of illegal Rohingya refugees in India via Benapole-Haridaspur (West Bengal), Hilli (West Bengal), and Sonamora (Tripura), Kolkata and Guwahati.
It expressed concern that the situation was “seriously harming” the national security of the country.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Yashwant Varma was apprised by the government of India that due to an existing large influx of illegal immigrants from the neighbouring countries, the demographic profile of some of the bordering states in India have already undergone a serious change, which was causing far-reaching complications in various contexts and had a direct detrimental effect on the fundamental and basic human rights of the country’s citizens.
The Central government said the policy of the government on this issue was clear that if someone was an illegal foreigner, then after checking his nationality and after consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs, he should be deported to his country of origin.
The government said that it cannot give an exit permit to an illegal migrant for a third country as this would be against the rules. At the same time, it said the Government of India was not bound to accept any international agreement on this subject.
The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by one Senoara Begum of Myanmar, seeking exit permit for herself and her three minor children, who were currently staying in Delhi.
The woman contended in her plea that she was denied exit permit for the United States, after which she moved the High Court.
Senoara said that she and her husband were victims of atrocities in Myanmar. From there, she fled to a refugee camp in Bangladesh and got married in 2004. Her husband moved to the US in 2015 and has now got the citizenship there.
Along with this, he also got a Permanent Residence Visa and on the basis of that, he now wanted to take his family to the US, noted the plea.
However, when Senoara sought exit permit from the Government of India, she was asked to obtain an NOC from the Myanmar Embassy.
The woman contended that since they were stateless people, they could not get an NOC.
The affidavit, filed by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) said the petition filed by the woman showed that she had entered India illegally as a migrant.
After entering India illegally, she got herself registered with the UNHCR as a refugee and continued to stay as an Illegal migrant, added the affidavit.
It said granting exit permits to illegal migrants like the petitioner would have a bearing upon similarly placed cases from other refugees as well and it would convey a message that the Indian government was supporting and facilitating the resettlement of illegal migrants in third countries, which would be detrimental to the international relations of the Indian government.
The nexus of touts and agents as mentioned above shall use the situation to their advantage to further increase influx of more Rohingyas in India, which would again open a Pandora box for the Central government, which was already dealing with the menace of illegal migration through its porous borders, it added.
The government further said that so far as India was concerned, the national security considerations ranked highest on the country’s list of priorities, given the geopolitical influence in the region and its vulnerability to mass border infiltration due to the porous nature of its border, shared with many countries.