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September 22, 2017

See Rohingya issue from a security angle: Madhav

  • BJP general secretary in charge of northeastern States, Ram Madhav, has dismissed suggestions that the Union government was speaking in different voices on the issue of Rohingya fleeing to India from Myanmar. Mr. Madhav said the “human rights concerns of 125 crore Indians” was guiding the government’s policies on the matter.
  • Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Madhav also drew a line between the Rohingya influx from Myanmar and the granting of citizenship to Chakma and Hajong communities that settled in India in 1964 and 1969.
  • He also separated the case of religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan fleeing to India citing religious persecution being considered for citizenship from the case of the Rohingya, denying that it had anything to do with the latter being largely Muslim.

Humanitarian assistance

  • India did, however, send humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh where a large number of Rohingya have fled from Myanmar.
  • Being raised alongside the issue of the Rohingya coming into India, is the recent order of the Guwahati High Court granting citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees who had crossed over to India in the 1960s, which seems to have created unease in States like Arunachal Pradesh that see a demographic change being forced on it.
  • “In India, a number of States like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and States in the northeast enjoy a special status, in the sense they have certain special rights under Article 370 and 371. Under that a citizen would not automatically become a domicile in those States. In Arunachal Pradesh the issue is over this domicile status. The Chief Minister (Pema Khandu) has written to the Home Ministry stating that those who have been settled in Arunachal Pradesh should be extended Inner Line Permit (ILP). Any Indian citizen can secure that, to go into Arunachal and spend time there. Such status can be extended is the recommendation of the CM. The Union Home Ministry is examining that,” he said.

‘No religious angle’

  • He denied that the treatment being meted out to Rohingya fleeing Myanmar had any religious or political angle, despite the special status accorded to minorities fleeing Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
  • “As far as the Rohingya question is concerned it is not a religious or political issue, it is a question of people illegally entering India. There is a security angle involved in it. Even countries like Bangladesh, to which the Rohingya originally belonged before migrating to Myanmar, are saying that these migrants are a security threat. Whereas the Chakmas entered India in 1964, as an after-effect of our Partition. Many minority groups from erstwhile Pakistan had crossed over into India after religious persecution. They came over in 1964 and 1969. The Home Ministry has taken a view that if religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, out of persecution, come to India, they will not be treated as foreigners (intermediately), for the simple reason that at least Pakistan and Bangladesh were part of erstwhile India, and refugees from there subsequently may be considered for citizenship. This is the 2015 executive order issued by the Home Ministry. Thus their case is not the same as the Rohingya,” he said.

SC allows two minor rape survivors to abort foetuses

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted two minor rape survivors to medically terminate their pregnancies on the advice of the medical boards which examined them.
  • Both medical teams had given opinions in favour of medical termination of the pregnancies. The 13-year-old was in her 23rd week of pregnancy and the Bengaluru-based victim in her 24th week.
  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 does not allow abortion if the pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks. Under the 1971 law, an exception to the 20-week cap can be made if a registered medical practitioner certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for either the mother or the baby. This was meant to be a safeguard against female foeticide.

Medical boards

  • Recently, the Centre had written to the States and the Union Territories about the court’s suggestion to appoint permanent medical boards to provide rape survivors urgent access to medical care and to consider their requests for abortion.
  • The recent privacy judgment of a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has observed that the right to reproductive choice of a woman is part of her fundamental right to privacy.

Navy takes delivery of Scorpene submarine

  • Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. (MDL) of Mumbai on Thursday handed over the first of the Scorpene submarines, Kalvari , to the Navy. This is the Navy’s first new conventional submarine in two decades.
  • “The state-of-the-art technology utilised in the Scorpene has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low-radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons,” MDL said.
  • MDL is constructing six Scorpene submarines with technology transfer from Naval Group, formerly DCNS of France.