The Union Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) on Wednesday granted one-month visa extension to the 480 Pakistani Hindus seeking permanent residence in India.
Sources said the Hindus had entered the country through Rajasthan under the pretext of attending the ‘Maha Kumbh’ last month. However, they refused to return home alleging forced conversion and torture by the Muslim majority in Pakistan. Concerned by influx of the Pakistani Hindus, the Delhi government had asked the MHA to take necessary action.
“They will not be deported. Since it takes time to take any decision on their appeals, we have extended their visas for a month,” a ministry official said.
The visas of the refugees had expired on Monday and fearing deportation they had approached the Centre seeking political asylum.
According to the 1998 Pakistan Census,there were around 24 lakh Hindus spread across 104 districts in the country. And Sindh had the largest concentration of Hindus in the Islamic Republic.
“There is also the case of 10,000 Pakistani Hindus illegally overstaying in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh since July 2012 after their visas had expired. They had forwarded their application seeking permanent residence through the local authorities. However, the Centre is yet to take any decision in the case,” he added.