The Principle of Non Refoulment does not only mean ‘invite the refugees, settle and rehabilitate them in India’
When I have this example, which has received the endorsement of the highest court of the land, in three successive judgements. I wish to understand what is it that I am saying, which is not supported by facts and law? Now they say, no, no. Even if there is no law which applies to refugees in India, there is certainly customary International Law that applies to all countries who are in the, who are part of the committee of civilized nations and all of us supposed to respect it.
I said, okay, tell us the principle which you are relying upon of International law to support the position, that these people must be treated as refugees. They are saying there is a principle called, Principle of Non Refoulment, Iska matlab kya hai? It’s just this, assume that a lady comes from Pakistan to India saying that she is being persecuted for her religious beliefs and that she is not comfortable in that particular atmosphere, you can’t force her to go back to Pakistan, that is the Principle of Non Refoulement. Bhai jis aag se bachne ki koshish kar rahe hai, app unko vaapas nahi dakhel sakte, that’s the simple point. That means which is the persecution or which is the place where persecution is happening as far as Rohingyas are concerned? Myanmar, kya wo seedha Myanmar se Bharath aa raha hai? Bangladesh me to inka itna bada tent hai, so if I send them back to Bangladesh, am I sending them back to a place where they are being persecuted? Therefore, how is the Principle of Non Refoulement being violated?
Second, is it your case that if, let’s assume for a moment that persecution has taken place, it has occurred, and it is a real issue or it’s an existential issue as far as that community is concerned. Are you saying that it is not possible for that particular state to be put under a watch by United Nations and by a host of countries surrounding saying, boss, it’s no more your problem, your problem has spilled over into my territory, that’s precisely what Indira Gandhi did in 1971-72. She basically, her position towards the United States was please don’t think that I’m actually interested in bifurcating Pakistan, the problem is all these people have spilled over, millions of people have spilled over into our country and I have a real humanitarian crisis and perhaps even demographic crisis at hand and I need to do something about it. That’s precisely the statement that is being made today and that’s is precisely the position that we wish to take today. So what is wrong? After all she is the venerated figure for certain sections. If she is so infallible, why is that position suddenly fallible? Merely because somebody else says it? Forget who says it, ask yourself objectively what is wrong with the position? Now, Principle of Non Refoulement also translates to multiple things, iska matlab ye hai, refugees ke bhalai ke liye agar aap kuch kar sakte hai, please kuch ki jiye, that is the sum and substance of it .Tho aap 10 cheeze kar sakte hai, which is – send relief material, provide them with assistance, financial assistance, humanitarian aid, make sure that their refugee shelters in wherever, whichever country they live in are in decent conditions, in sanitary conditions, in human conditions, do all that. Why does it necessarily have to translate to only one option, which is to say invite them, settle them, rehabilitate them, in this country?