Hindus, other minority refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh can now stay in India without visa

New Delhi: At a time when the plight of refugees has shot to limelight due to the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, India has done its part to come to the aid of minority refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The Central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to grant exemptions to minority community nationals from Bangladesh and Pakistan in regularization of their entry and stay in India.

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.”

This essentially means that minority refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan can now stay in India even after the expiry of their visas. The decision has been taken on humanitarian grounds.

A number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities in those countries, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, have taken shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution.

They have entered India either without any valid document, including passport and other travel document, or with valid documents but the validity of such document has expired, reports PTI.

There has been no exact numbers of such minority refugees from these countries but officials put the figure of around two lakh Hindu and Sikh refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan living in India.