By Ahmad Adil
NEW DELHI, India (AA) - The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the government to submit its response to a petition filed by two Rohingya refugees, local media reported.
In a petition, Mohammed Sallimullah and Mohammad Shaqir stated India's Border Security Force (BSF) had pushed back refugees by using "chili powder and stun grenades".
Since Aug. 25, 2017, over 650,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
Appearing before the court on behalf of the petitioners, India's renowned lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the Rohingya wishing to come to India should not be pushed back.
Local media reported that the Indian government's lawyer Tushar Mehta told the bench that the government did not want India to become the "refugee capital of the world".
"People from every other country will flood our country," The Hindu daily reported Mehta as saying in the court.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said: "The court did acknowledge the humanitarian aspects in Mr. Bhushan's submissions, but asked if judicial standards of India, which applied to refugees already living on Indian soil, also apply to those attempting to enter the country."
The next date of hearing has been set for March 7.
Last year, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Rohingya Muslims settled in the country were "illegal immigrants" and they were not refugees.
The court is hearing several petitions against a proposed move of the government to deport over 40,000 Rohingya living in the country.
According to Doctors Without Borders, at least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24.
In a report published on Dec. 12, 2017, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.