India calls Rohingya refugees “threat to national security“

Indian Muslims burn effigies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest against the persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority in Kolkata, India, Monday, on September 11, 2017. (File photo by AP)
Updated 14 September 2017
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India calls Rohingya refugees “threat to national security“

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that Rohingya refugees were “a threat to national security,” pushing back against condemnation of its plans to deport them.
India’s top court is hearing a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims, filed by two Rohingyas living in Delhi who fled their village in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State about six years ago.
The decision to deport Rohingyas comes as Myanmar’s military crackdown in Rakhine has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to seek shelter in Bangladesh, in a process the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar says its forces are carrying out their legitimate duty to restore order after guerrilla attacks on Aug. 25 on security posts and an army camp in which about a dozen people were killed.
Close to 40,000 Rohingya Muslims live in India after fleeing Myanmar over the past decade. Nearly 15,000 have received refugee documentation, according to the United Nations, but India wants to deport them all.
Rohingyas are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and regarded as illegal immigrants, despite claiming roots that date back centuries.
Some groups allied to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped up calls for Rohingyas to leave, and Modi said last week that India shared Myanmar’s concerns about “extremist violence” in Rakhine state.
On Thursday, a senior lawyer representing India’s government told the supreme court that “the state considers that Rohingyas are a threat to national security.”
Intelligence agencies suspect that Rohingya Muslim leaders in India are in touch with Pakistan-based militant groups, the lawyer said.
The lawyer declined to be named because an affidavit the home ministry is preparing to file with the court has not yet been finalized.
Bangladesh is also growing hostile to the Rohingya, more than 400,000 of whom live there after fleeing Myanmar since the early 1990s. From Bangladesh, some Rohingyas have crossed into India.
Aid groups and human rights activists have criticized the plans to expel Rohingyas, and some lawyers say deportation would violate India’s constitution.
India’s supreme court is expected to start hearing the case on Monday.
India this week sent 53 tons of relief materials to Bangladesh for Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar.


Dozens of casualties reported after Taliban attack on Afghan base

Updated 27 min 34 sec ago
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Dozens of casualties reported after Taliban attack on Afghan base

  • The attack killed as many as 44 Afghan police and soldiers, provincial officials said
  • It is the latest in a series that have killed dozens of members of the security forces in provinces across Afghanistan

KABUL: A Taliban attack on a military outpost in the northern province of Baghlan in the early hours of Wednesday killed as many as 44 Afghan police and soldiers, provincial officials said, as the insurgents kept up pressure on government forces.

There was no immediate comment from the ministry of defense but officials in the area said nine police and 35 soldiers were killed in the attack, the latest in a series that have killed dozens of members of the security forces in provinces across Afghanistan.

The attack came as the situation in the embattled central city of Ghazni eased after the Taliban said they had ordered forces out after five days of fighting that killed and wounded hundreds and left the city a burned-out wreck.

The city hospital was overcrowded with hundreds of wounded people and dozens of bodies and people desperately searching for relatives among the dead and wounded.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was providing dressing packages and oral and intravenous medicine to treat wounded at the provincial hospital.

The ICRC also sent fresh water and electricity generators for trauma surgeries and delivered material for the management of remains.

About 20 percent of the population in Ghazni depend on the city water system, which has been down since the beginning of fighting. The ICRC is organizing emergency water supplies by truck to cover the needs of about 18,000 people.

“Some people had managed to flee the city but there were many others trapped in their houses,” said one Taliban commander, who said the decision to pull out was made to prevent further destruction in the city.

“They were facing severe shortage of food and drinking water as the power supply was also suspended to the city two days ago,” the Taliban commander, who declined to be identified, said by telephone.