Some of the Rohingya immigrants before being sent to Myanmar Credit: EastMojo image

Imphal: India handed over seven Rohingya immigrants, who had illegally entered the country, to Myanmar on Thursday after the Supreme Court rejected senior advocate Prashant Bushan’s plea seeking stalling of the deportation process.

This is the first time that India has sent back Rohingya refugees who have been sheltered in the country fearing persecution in their native central Rakhine state of Myanmar. The SC earlier held that the persons are illegal immigrants and the Myanmar government has accepted them as their citizens.

The seven persons were arrested in Assam in 2008 and they had been lodged at the Silchar detention camp for ‘foreigners’ since 2012.

Earlier on Wednesday, the assistant commandant Sudashu Kumar of the BSF brought the immigrants to the bordering town of Moreh in Manipur. Indian officials handed over the seven migrants to Aung Myo, deputy director of immigration in Myanmar, after completing the legalities.

The deported persons are Mohammad Sabir Ahmed, Mohammad Unus, Mohammad Jamal, Mohammad Salam, Mohammand Maqbul Khan, Mohammad Rahimuddin, and Mohammad Jamal Hussain.

However, the Indian government’s move has attracted criticism from the United Nations that has termed the forcible return as a violation of human rights.

Bhushan, who filed the petition in the SC to stop the deportation, argued to see the immigrants as refugees but not as illegal migrants.

An estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly Muslims fearing persecution in Myanmar, are taking shelter in India.

India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Status Convention of the UN.

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