Union minister Kiren Rijiju today slammed human rights groups for criticising the Centre's move to deport Rohingya refugees, saying India has given shelter to maximum number of migrants, more than any other nation, and advised them not to "lecture".
He asked the rights groups not to "demonise" India as a country hostile to refugees and said New Delhi is not going to "throw" the Rohingyas into the "ocean" or "shoot" them but will follow due process of law before their identification and deportation.
"India is the most humane nation in the world. Millions of refugees live in India. There is no other country in the world which hosts so many refugees. So, don't demonise us, don't give us lecture," he told reporters here.
He was referring to the criticism by some human rights organisation to the government's move.
The minister of state for home said all those who had entered India were liable to be deported after following a proper process of law.
"We are not going to shoot them nor we are planning to throw them in the ocean. India is not a signatory to UN human rights convention but still the country has been hosting millions of refugees," he said.
However, Rijiju said, these continuous influx cannot go indefinitely, there has to be an end to it.
"Please don't accuse us as intolerant. We value human rights, we act as per law," he said.
Early this month, the Centre had said illegal immigrants like the Rohingyas pose grave security challenges as they may be recruited by terror groups, and asked state governments to identify and deport them.
In a communication to all states, the Union home ministry had said the rise of terrorism in last few decades has become a serious concern for most nations as illegal migrants are more vulnerable to getting recruited by terrorist organisations.
"These illegal immigrants not only infringe on the rights of Indian citizens but also pose grave security challenges," the communication said.
The infiltration of (the Rohingyas) from Rakhine state of Myanmar into Indian territory, especially in recent years, besides being a burden on the limited resources of the country also aggravates security challenges posed to India, the home ministry said.
Rijiju had said in Parliament on August 9 that according to available data, more than 14,000 Rohingyas, registered with the UNHCR, are presently staying in India.
"However, some inputs indicate that around 40,000 Rohingyas are staying in India illegally and the Rohingyas are largely located in Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan," he had said.
On November 16, 2016, the government had informed the Parliament that according to available inputs, there were around 20 million (two crore) illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying in India.