The Indian government told the country’s top court on Monday that some of the Muslim Rohingya who has fled Myanmar are a serious security threat as it sought to justify moves to deport up to 40,000 of them.
Mukesh Mittal, a senior home ministry official, said the Supreme Court must allow the government to take a decision in the wider interests of the country since some of the Rohingya have an extremist record.
“Some of the Rohingyas with militant background are also found to be very active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mewat and have been identified as having a very serious and potential threat to the national security of India,” he said in a written statement to the court.
The statement also highlighted the “serious potential” for an “eruption of violence against the Buddhists who are Indian citizens who stay on Indian soil”.
The Rohingya have denied any link with Islamic extremist groups.
The statement came in response to a petition filed at the Supreme Court challenging the government’s decision to deport the Rohingya, many of whom have been in India for the past decade.
The United Nations says there are 16,000 registered Rohingya in India, but many more are undocumented. The government puts the figure at 40,000.
About 7,000 of them live in shanties in India’s Jammu region in the Himalayas. They say they have faced hostility from the majority Hindu community there.
Rights groups have urged India to abide by its international obligations after the government said last month it had asked state authorities to identify and deport the Rohingya living in their territory.