Following Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri's tweet on flats to Rohingya refugees, the BJP and AAP-ruled Delhi government traded blame over the alleged shifting of the refugees from Myanmar who have been living at the Kanchan Kunj locality in Madanpur Khadar.
On Wednesday morning, Puri said that the Rohingya refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in Bakkarwala area on the outskirts of Delhi. He further said that they would be provided basic amenities, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) IDs and round-the-protection of the Delhi Police.
India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision all #Rohingya #Refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs & round-the-clock @DelhiPolice protection. @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/E5ShkHOxqE— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 17, 2022
However, soon, the Centre released a statement noting that no such resolution has been passed and directed the Delhi government to keep the Rohingya refugees at detention centres till their deportation and declare the present location as a 'detention centre'.
Home Ministry’s press release with respect to the issue of Rohingya illegal foreigners gives out the correct position. https://t.co/NhLPKaJTdg— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 17, 2022
Lashing out at the Centre, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, "The Centre, which was not getting tired of telling this news as its achievement in the morning, is now trying to lay the blame on the Delhi government after the AAP's protest. Whereas it is a fact that the central government was secretly trying to give permanent residence to the Rohingyas in Delhi."
He further added, "At the behest of the central government and L-G, the officers and police took these decisions. They were sending it for approval from the L-G without showing the file to the chief minister or home minister of Delhi. The Delhi government will not allow this conspiracy to illegally settle Rohingyas in Delhi."
केंद्र सरकार सुबह सुबह जिस खबर को अपनी उपलब्धि बताती नहीं थक रही थी, आम आदमी पार्टी द्वारा विरोध किए जाने पर , अब इसकी ज़िम्मेदारी दिल्ली सरकार पर डालने लगी है.— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) August 17, 2022
जबकि हक़ीक़त है कि केंद्र सरकार चोरी छुपे रोहँगियाओं को दिल्ली में स्थाई ठिकाना देने की कोशिश कर रही थी. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/rhdPlKZSJZ
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, "Senior ministers of the central government are welcoming the Rohingya."
केंद्र सरकार के वरिष्ठ मंत्री रोहिंग्या का स्वागत कर रहे हैं। https://t.co/TKaFqKA7UI— Saurabh Bharadwaj (@Saurabh_MLAgk) August 17, 2022
Meanwhile, on Wednesday BJP's Gaurav Bhatia said that Rohingya migrants are ‘threat’ to national security and that the Modi government will never compromise on the issue.
Responding to Bhatia's tweet, Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “If all illegal immigrants are a threat to any nation’s security then what about thousands of undocumented Indians floating around US, Europe and other developed nations? Tragedy of Rohingya people is heart-rendering. They are fleeing persecution, rape and genocide."
If all illegal immigrants are a threat to any nation’s security then what about thousands of undocumented Indians floating around US,Europe &other developed nations?— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 18, 2022
Tragedy of Rohingya people is heart rendering.They are fleeing persecution,rape & genocidehttps://t.co/pNUHLBOLYi
Lashing out at the AAP government over the blame game, Bhatia in a press conference asked why was it that in the meeting held on July 29, chaired by the chief secretary of Delhi, “a hasty decision was taken that all these infiltrators would be shifted to the houses being built for EWS.” He said there were news reports in which the facts were “meant to mislead the public. The Ministry of Home Affairs has clarified that.” He further said “the law of our country says that Rohingyas will be deported and this jurisdiction lies with the Ministry of Home Affairs.” The Modi government has a clear policy that there will be no compromise on national security, he said.
He accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of appeasement politics.
The controversy stems from what seemed to be at least an attempt to resettle some of the refugees temporarily.
On July 29, a meeting was held at the national capital on relocating the Rohingya refugees. According to a report by Hindustan Times, a copy of the document read, "FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office), Delhi was directed to take over the EWS Flats at Bakkarwala, Delhi for the purpose of creation of detention center and complete the procedure and other codal formalities immediately after handing and taking over of EWS flats at Bakkarwala, Delhi from NDMC (North Delhi Municipal Corporation) in coordination with the Delhi Police and Home Department, GNCT of Delhi for setting up detention center. This process shall be completed by August 2022.(sic)"
However, later, Sisodia said that the elected Delhi government was not consulted in the process and blamed Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and the chief secretary for bypassing the state home minister on the matter.
According to UNHCR, there are 9,80,000 Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar in neighbouring countries. In India, there are currently an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees. At least 20,000 of them have been registered as refugees with the UNHCR.