NEW DELHI – India's government said Monday that it has evidence there are extremists who pose a threat to the country's security among the Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and settled in many Indian cities.
India's Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed on behalf of two Rohingya refugees challenging a government decision to deport the ethnic group from India.
The lawyer representing the Rohingya said the decision was discriminatory.
"This is clearly a case of religious discrimination and an attempt to arouse an anti-Muslim feeling," Prashant Bhushan said.
He said the government had evidence of the presence of militants among the refugees who fled a crackdown by the Myanmar government.
The government said the decision on whether Rohingya refugees should be allowed to remain in the country should be made by the government.
"The court has no business to interfere in such matters of what they call illegal immigrants or illegal migrants," the government said in an affidavit.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the government will provide evidence of Rohingya links with extremist Islamic groups and illegal transfer of money at the next hearing.
The petition was filed after India's junior home minister, Kiren Rijiju, said last month that state governments had been ordered to identify and deport illegal immigrants, including Rohingya Muslims.
Rijiju said India would even deport all Rohingya refugees, including some 16,500 who have been registered by the U.N. refugee agency as refugees.
Many Rohingya living in India fled persecution in Myanmar in 2012. According to the United Nations, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar since a renewed military crackdown began on Aug. 25. About 412,000 fled to Bangladesh, but some have also reached India, Nepal and Pakistan in recent weeks.
The next hearing in the case is set for Oct. 3.