India does not have a national policy or a law to deal with refugees. The country is, however, not a signatory to international laws such as the 1951 UN Convention and the 1967 Protocol, which secure the rights of refugees to seek asylum and protect them from being sent back to life-threatening places. Refugees entering the country without a visa are treated as illegal immigrants under the Foreigners Act or the Indian Passport Act. An absence of documents can mean that refugees coming to India have no access to basic facilities like healthcare, education and employment.
In 2019, the Modi government passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which offers amnesty and expedites the path to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim "illegal immigrants" from the neighbouring countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were provided an allowance by the state government and allowed to seek jobs. India has for years supported the Dalai Lama and Tibetan refugees who followed him into exile and sought asylum in the country.
Hours after Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri's tweet the government said the refugees would be held in detention centres until they were deported.
According to Human Rights Watch, an estimated 40,000 Rohingyas are in India - at least 20,000 of them are registered with the UN Human Rights Commission.