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BJP MP Varun Gandhi Gets Slammed For Defending Rohingya Refugees

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| September 26 , 2017 , 16:46 IST

Earning itself reproach from the United Nations, India has maintained its stance against giving sanctuary to Rohingya refugees, citing the Rohingya refugees as a threat to national security.

BJP MP Varun Gandhi, in an opinion piece for a Hindi daily, batted for providing shelter and refuge to the Rohingyas and to formulate a national refugee policy. He said that India should continue to provide shelter to Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution from neighbouring Myanmar.

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Gandhi also highlighted the "discrimination" Afghani and Myanmar immigrants faced in Delhi while searching for jobs and houses.

“India should formulate a national refugee policy to help distinguish between those fleeing persecution and those fleeing poverty,” Gandhi said in the article.

Gandhi's statement came a week after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the Rohingya as illegal immigrants.

“Rohingya are not refugees, nor have they taken asylum. They are illegal immigrants,” Rajnath Singh had said.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir slammed the BJP MP's statements, saying that national interest should come first. The same stand had been taken by the centre when responding to a query in the Supreme Court regarding the Rohingya, calling the community a "security threat".

Referring to Gandhi's opinion piece, MoS Home Hansraj Ahir told reporters, "Jo desh ke hith mein sochenga, woh is tarah ke bayan nahi dega (anyone with national interest in mind won't make such statements)."

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“It’s not about my opinion or acceptance. What the government had decided is in national interest. No one should go against the government’s decision on Rohingya,” Ahir said.

BJP leader Shaina NC seconded Ahir's views, saying, “The government is going its job. Modi government is very competent to handle this situation. If someone is raising the humanitarian angle, he should study the issue better.”

Meanwhile, Varun Gandhi tweeted a defence of his article, "My recent piece focused primarily on defining India's asylum policy, with clear demarcations on how we would accept refugees."

In another tweet, Gandhi said, "As for the Rohingyas, I've called for empathy, leading potentially to asylum, while vetting each applicant for national security concerns."