Just two days ago, The Times of India reported
that the British Pakistani Christian Association has urged India to help Pakistani Christians who are being persecuted in Pakistan by giving them refuge in India. On Monday, the Indian government granted permission to minority refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay in India even after the expiry of their visas. The decision was taken on humanitarian grounds, reports PTI.
The permission has been granted to all refugees from minority community who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
They will be allowed to stay even if they don’t have proper documents.
The decision has been taken under Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and Foreigners Act, 1946, a Home Ministry statement said. As per an official release:
“The Government of India will exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities, who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, from the relevant provisions of rules and order made under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946 in respect of their entry and stay in India without such documents or after the expiry of those documents, as the case may be.”
The minority communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan – Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists – have been fleeing religious persecution in their homeland.
Officials say there are around 2 lakh Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan living in India, though there is no exact count.
The refugee issue has received particular attention from the Indian government. Besides issuance of Long Term Visa (LTV), the government has taken steps such as manual acceptance of applications for citizenship, consideration of an affidavit filed before the authority in return for citizenship renunciation certificate and permission to the children of such refugees, who entered India, on the basis of their parents’ passport, to apply for Indian citizenship without a passport. But Uzair hasan Rizvi, writing in Scroll
, highlighted the plight of such refugees. He writes that more than 900 Pakistani Hindus have been living around Delhi since 2011. Their living conditions are so pathetic that in some places more than 20 are forced to share a single room.