NEW DELHI : The Congress on Tuesday urged the Narendra Modi government to be "careful" on the issue of Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar and "not stereotype or identify hapless victims of violence with insurgency and terrorism".
Reacting to UN Human Rights chief criticising India over deportation of Rohingyas, the opposition party also warned the government that it "should not do anything or act in a manner and allow its ministers to say something which would destroy the image of the country".
"This is a humanitarian crisis and very sensitive issue. India historically, has taken a very compassionate view of people who are the victims of violence, who are displaced because of violence or who are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere," said Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma.
"The present government should not do anything, act in a manner or allow the ministers to say something which actually destroys that image of India as a country which is compassionate, tolerant, accommodating and has historically also given a refuge to victims of violence and torture," he added.
"This is what I would like to say and the government should be careful."
The former Union Minister also said: "India should be careful about the sensitivities and the crises which is unfolding before us. I would not like to go beyond this but except to caution here what the BJP or the RSS is trying to do when we look at some of their leaders even making public statements or filing petitions.
"They must never stereotype or identify hapless victims of violence with insurgency and terrorism.
"There has to be a clear distinction made. Terrorists and insurgents can come from any religion, any community and any ethnic group. When you cannot damn that entire country or religion or people, the BJP government should be careful about it and that distinction should not be blurred. That distinction must always remain," he added.
UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al-Hussein had criticised any move by India to deport Rohingyas to Myanmar when the community was facing violence in their country after Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had announced that they would be deported.