CONGRESS URGES MODI GOVERNMENT TO HANDLE ROHINGYA ISSUE COMPASSIONATELY

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Congress spokesperson and former union minister Anand Sharma.

Criticizing the statements of the RSS and the BJP leaders, the party also urged the government not to do anything and allow ministers to say something that may damage the image of the country in the world.

ABDUL BARI MASOUD | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — The Congress on Tuesday urged the BJP-led central government to deal with the Rohingya Muslims issue “compassionately” as they are the victims of violence and were forced to flee their homes, and seek refuge elsewhere.

Criticizing the statements of the RSS and the BJP leaders, the party also urged the government not to do anything and allow ministers to say something that may damage the image of the country in the world.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson and former union minister Anand Sharma said the issue of Rohingyas is a “humanitarian” issue and very sensitive one, and the government must handle it carefully and compassionately.

In a clear reference to the government’s plan to deport Rohingya refugees and the RSS and BJP leaders’ provocative statements on the issue, senior Congress leader said that India historically, has taken a very compassionate view of people, who are victims of violence, displaced because of violence, or who are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

In response to question that India is being criticized in the world forums for its decision to deport Rohingya refugees, Sharma said, “The present government should not do anything, act in a manner or allow the ministers to say something which actually destroys the image of India as a country which is compassionate and the government  should be careful”.

Without taking the name of Myanmar, he also subtly criticized the Myanmar government for the fleeing of Rohingyas from their country.

On the ruling party and its affiliate groups’ attempts to communalize or linking Rohingyas to terrorism for petty political gains, Sharma warned that they must stop stereotyping or identifying hapless victims of violence with insurgency and terrorism.

“It is for the concerned government from where they are fleeing to ensure that these people are taken of. There has to be compassion as Bangladesh has said,” he added.

On the ruling party and its affiliate groups’ attempts to communalize or linking Rohingyas to terrorism for petty political gains, Sharma warned that they must stop stereotyping or identifying hapless victims of violence with insurgency and terrorism.

“I would not like to go beyond this but except to caution here what the BJP or the RSS is trying to do when we look at some of their leaders even making public statements or filing petitions. They must never stereotype or identify hapless victims of violence with insurgency and terrorism. There has to be a clear distinction made. Terrorists and insurgents can come from any religion, any community and any ethnic group,” he said.

He further said one cannot avoid an entire country or religion or people, therefore the BJP government should be “careful about it and that distinction should not be blurred”. 

However, after the worldwide criticism of India on the issue, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday tried to clarify that the central government had only asked the state governments to identify “illegal immigrants and initiate action under established procedure.” Earlier, he had reportedly said that the Rohingyas are a threat to the security of the country. His clarification came after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement that “India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations”.

Meanwhile, civil society groups announced a massive protest demonstration against the Myanmar government against Rohingya’s genocide at the Myanmar embassy on Wednesday in Delhi. Political leaders, activists, and different religious leaders including  Manishankar Aiyer,  D. Raja,  Acharya Pramod Krishnan, Father MD Thomas,  John Dyal,  Swami Susheel Ji Maharaj, Prof  Manoj Jha, Prof  Apoorvanand, Bikshu Ashwaghosh,  Swami Swaroopnand,  Ravi Nayar, Pramjeet Singh and Prashant Bhushan will take part in the protest.

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