After Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri tweeted that all Rohingya refugees in Delhi would be shifted to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) flats in Bakkarwala and given round-the-clock police security, the AAP on Wednesday accused the Centre of conspiring to settle illegal immigrants in the city for the BJP’s benefit.
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the party-run Delhi government would not allow such a settlement to take place.
Within hours of Puri’s tweet, though, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it had not given any such directions. A ministry spokesperson also said though the Delhi government had proposed to shift the Rohingya refugees to a new location, the ministry directed it not to go ahead with the plan as the matter of their deportation had been taken up with the “country concerned”.
Bharadwaj said that a meeting of the Delhi chief secretary, officials from the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and Delhi Police was held to discuss the plan. “This decision to settle Rohingya in EWS flats was taken by Delhi chief secretary Naresh Kumar. He is the same chief secretary who is writing reports against the elected ministers of the Delhi government. The others involved in the decision were the FRRO and Delhi Police. The FRRO and Delhi Police come under the MHA,” he said.
The AAP leader said that file notings revealed that the decision had been taken behind the back of the elected government.
“In the file, the principal secretary, home (Delhi government) wrote, ‘As decided in the meeting and as per the para of the minutes of meeting, a self-content note is proposed to be submitted to the honourable LG, thorough CS, to apprise [him] on this matter.” They have not kept the Delhi home minister in the loop. The conspiracy was to get this passed and play politics. But Hardeep Puri-ji, a Union minister, a former bureaucrat, congratulated the PMO in the morning. He has been congratulating himself,” Bharadwaj said.
Bharadwaj also said had the decision not been known to Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, he would have suspended the officials by now. “Will the LG suspend the chief secretary or the Delhi Police officials? He suspends officials in minutes. If this was happening without the LG’s consent, he should suspend people in a minute.” he said.
Delhi, which is not a full state but a Union Territory with special powers, has a governance structure different from other states. While the elected government is responsible for several areas such as education, health, water and power, matters such as land, police, law and order, and services come under the lieutenant governor. After the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act was amended in 2021, all files and executive decisions of the government have to go through the LG.