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Rohingya refugee case: SC directs appointment of nodal officers to address camp-dwellers’ grievances

The state in a Rohingya refugee camp in Mewat, Haryana. [HRLN photo]
Date : 15/05/2018

Writ Petition (Civil) No 859/2013
Jaffar Ullah and Anr versus Union of India & Ors

The Rohingyas are a sizeable minority of Myanmar’s population of 60 million. They are, however, persecuted in the country. Ethnic riots broke out in June 2012 where their villages were set on fire and many Rohingyas were killed and women raped, according to a Human Rights Watch report. Many of them came to India. Ultimately the government of India and UNHCR recognized some Rohingyas as asylum seekers and settled them in Kalindi Kunj camp at New Delhi and at Mewat, Haryana.

In the latest hearing on the case on May 11, 2018, the Supreme Court noted the compliance Report of the Committee on the present status of health facilities for the Rohingyas staying at Nuh Block, District Mewat, Haryana and Kanchankunj, Kalindikunj, Delhi which had been filed in pursuance of an earlier order.

This report stated that habitation, health service delivery, water, sanitation, hygiene, electricity and education in respect of Nuh Block, District Mewat, Haryana, were all found to be satisfactory according to the Committee. It said, “The Committee had an overall observation that the Rohingyas are not being discriminated against despite being illegal migrants. They are being provided with basic facilities for health care, water, sanitation and education. The quality and comprehensiveness of the services provided are not less than those provided to the Indian citizens and are within the available infrastructure and resources of the District.”

However, the counsel for the petitioners pointed out that the refugees were, in reality, being denied various benefits – such as access to education and healthcare — for the lack of proper identity.

In its response, the court directed the appointment of nodal officers to address the grievances of residents of the refugee camps. In Nuh, this would be the Sub-Divisional Magistrate or the equivalent authority of District Mewat, and in, Kalindikunj (Delhi), it would be the concerned jurisdictional Revenue Magistrate, Delhi, the court said.

The matter is now listed for August 29, 2018. Watch this space for more updates.

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