The raging point-counterpoint between the centre and the Delhi government over rehabilitation of Rohingya refugees in the national capital reached a fever pitch today with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia demanding that the centre order a probe into the entire episode. Mr Sisodia alleged a “conspiracy” to settle Rohingya in Delhi, while keeping the Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal completely in the dark.
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri yesterday tweeted Rohingya refugees would be shifted to flats for the economically weaker section in Delhi’s Bakkarwala. Hours later, the Home Ministry in a series of tweets denied the centre would provide flats to Rohingya in the national capital.
“If that is indeed the case, then the central government must order a probe to find out at whose behest was such an initiative to rehabilitate Rohingya being undertaken. Who were taking these decisions and why?” Mr Sisodia said in a press briefing today.
Mr Sisodia said neither he nor Mr Kejriwal had any clue about a plan to move Rohingya to flats earmarked for the economically weaker section, or EWS, in Bakkarwala.
“The centre’s conspiracy regarding rehabilitation of Rohingya in Delhi was exposed yesterday,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.
Mr Sisodia said though Mr Puri tweeted about Rohingya being moved to EWS flats, Mr Kejriwal was not informed about such a move.
“Neither the Chief Minister nor the Home Minister of Delhi had any knowledge about it. We got to know through newspaper reports that a scheme to provide flats to Rohingya was on. I checked with the officers and got to know from them that some meetings had taken place in the presence of central government officers,” Mr Sisodia said.
“When I sought further details about the meetings, I noticed that it was mentioned in the files that for the approval of the central government, the proposal [to rehabilitate Rohingya] was being directly sent through the Union Chief Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. This was completely hidden from the elected government of Delhi. So, why this conspiracy?” Mr Sisodia said.
He alleged the Delhi Police and some officials had taken the decision to provide Rohingya permanent residence in the city on the instructions of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and at the behest of the centre.
The settlement of Rohingya Muslims has been a polarising subject in India, where leaders of the ruling BJP have targeted them frequently to shore up votes from the Hindu majority. Leaders from the AAP have also made comments against them.
The Modi government has previously tried to send back members of the minority from predominately Buddhist Myanmar, hundreds of thousands of whom have fled from persecution and waves of violence in their homeland over the years. Bangladesh has sheltered nearly a million Rohingya.