Disagreeing with Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s contention, which has also been submitted to the apex court, that these people were illegal migrant, he said,''When India does not have a law for determining who is a refugee, or how one can apply for asylum, then how can you say that you cannot award refugee status to Rohingyas from Myanmar because they had not come through due process?'' It was high time that India passed a legislation defining the rights and duties of refugees and providing a mechanism for legally seeking refuge, Dr Tharoor said.
The Congress MP also rejected the theory that most of Rohingyas were a security threat. He wondered, ''How can these people, most of whom were poor women and children running for their life, leaving behind their burning hearth and homes, be terrorist?'' The solution did not lie in throwing out the persecuted, but rather in identifying terrorist elements if they had infiltrated the ranks of Rohingyas and bringing them to book, and this was the job of investigating agencies, he said. ''National security was, of course, important for everyone but it was the job of the investigating agencies to identify those posing threat to it,’’ he added.
Dr Tharoor pointed out that he had moved a private members Bill on refugees and tried to push it strongly but the government had not taken it up. ''Our government prefers ad hoc measures to meet the situation.There is no law, no policy. They invent policy to suit the situation,’’ he said. (UNI)