HC asks Godhra convict’s Pakistani wife to seek citizenship

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court today asked Godhra train incident convict Irfan Pada’s Pakistani wife Maria to apply for Indian citizenship by January 14 and allowed her to stay in India till February 16.

Justice R M Chhaya passed the direction on Maria’s application seeking relief after her long-term visa expired and her application for extension was rejected.

The judge asked her to file an application for Indian citizenship by January 14. If no such application is filed, then the authorities can deport her to Pakistan, the court said.

The Union government must decide her application by February 15, the court said.

Pada and 30 others have been convicted in the 2002 Godhra train burning incident and sentenced to life.

He got bail in November 2014 to marry Maria, who had come to India from Pakistan on a long-term visa. The couple has a one-month-old daughter.

The state government rejected her application for visa extension and asked her to leave the country by January 8.

Maria, in her petition in the high court, argued that the state government does not have the power to reject her application based on the adverse opinion of police.