NEW DELHI: In huge relief to Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who escaped persecution and took refuge in India, the Modi Government has decided to give them a passport-like ID with a five-year long-term visa (LTV) stamped on it. A senior government official said the Ministry of Home Affairs will soon organise special camps in several cities simultaneously to register and extend the five-year LTV to minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Currently, the vital document is in the form of a normal paper sheet which is often misplaced by them, said a Home Ministry official adding that the newly-designed format will help in many ways.
“The five-year LTV with Government of India stamp will help them get rid of harassment from police and other agencies who often consider them a threat because of the language barrier. The Government, during the process of extending the new LTV, will also assist them to fill up forms etc,” said the official.
Although religion-wise break up of foreign nationals, including those from Pakistan and Bangladesh, is not centrally maintained by the government, officials said the number of such refugees seeking shelter could be over a lakh who are now staying in 400 camps located in different cities.
“The states have been asked to coordinate with the local authorities for the camps in coordination with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs) and FRO accordingly. A timeline of 21 days has been given to these authorities to process all LTV applications,” the official said. Once issued, the LTV will enable children of minority nationals from neighbouring countries to get admission in schools, colleges, universities, and technical institutions without any specific permission from the States or UT administration. They will also be allowed to take up jobs in the private sector. In 2015, over 2,000 minority Pakistani nationals were granted Long Term Visa by the Centre.