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‘Centre conspiring to settle Rohingya refugees in Delhi’

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Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the BJP-led Centre of “conspiring to illegally settle” Rohingya refugees in the Capital and swore that the AAP’s Delhi government would not let this happen.

“As per the directions of the Centre, decisions were made by bureaucrats and the police and approved by the Lieutenant-Governor. The Chief Minister was not kept in the loop. The Delhi government will not let this conspiracy to illegally settle Rohingya refugees in the city succeed,” Mr. Sisodia said.

Addressing a press conference, senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj lashed at a tweet by Union Minister Hardeep Singh announcing the decision to shift Rohingya refugees to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) flats and provide them with basic amenities and police protection.

Following this, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a statement clarifying that it had, “not given any directions to provide EWS flats to Rohingya illegal migrants at Bakkarwala in New Delhi”.

However, Mr. Sisodia dubbed MHA’s clarification as a “U-turn” by the Centre and accused the Union government of “outrightly conspiring” against the safety and security of the national capital and the country.

“The way the Congress used to convert Bangladeshi settlers into their vote bank, the Modi government is also doing the same thing by settling Rohingyas in Delhi,” Mr. Sisodia alleged.

The backdrop

A communication from the Deputy Secretary of Delhi’s Home Department to the chairman of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on June 23, 2021, following a fire incident at a Rohingya refugee camp in Kalindi Kunj on June 12, was at the core of the controversy.

The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), according to the communique, had proposed that the Baraat Ghar and all the 240 EWS flats located in the Bakkarwala village in west Delhi be allotted for a “permanent Restriction Centre” for foreign inmates.

The Deputy Secretary’s communique followed a joint inspection conducted on February 22, 2021, with representatives of Delhi’s Social Welfare Department to search for a “suitable accommodation” with “basic minimum housing facilities” for the Rohingya refugees.

Firm opposition

“We will not allow them to settle here. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on one hand, claims that there is no money for free education and healthcare for the people of the country, on the other hand, he is ready to spend crores on Rohingyas,” Mr. Bharadwaj said.

He added that the BJP was trying to settle Rohingyas in the Capital to create a “vote bank” for electoral gains despite the Supreme Court asking the Centre to deport Rohingyas.

AAP’s chief spokesperson said the Prime Minister could consider settling the refugees down in any of the BJP-ruled States if he wants.

“Give EWS flats, bungalows or whatever you want to them. We won’t allow allocation of flats to them in Delhi at all,” he added.

Mr. Bhardwaj also said, “The words and the deeds of the BJP leaders do not match. There are videos in which their leaders have expressed objection to Rohingyas entering and living in our country illegally. The BJP leaders raised allegations against us while the reality is that it is the BJP which is settling them in Delhi,” Mr. Bharadwaj said.

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