They came legally enough but then failed to go back. An RTI application filed by Karnal-based activist and lawyer Rajesh Sharma has had the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) admitting that over 70,000 foreign nationals have stayed on in the country long after their visas expired.
“Despite knowing everything, the state and Central governments are sitting idle. Pakistani nationals who sneaked into India with so-called valid documents have not yet been sent back to their country till date,” said Sharma.
The reply, however, furnished the figures as per records till December 31, 2011; Sharma sought information on January 31, 2013. A senior Intelligence official said, “Pakistanis living illegally is a cause of concern as they can be involved in terrorist activities. They might have changed their identity and can now be hiding in different parts of the country.”
Sensing danger, the MHA reply stated that the Central Government gave orders to all state governments on November 5, 2012, to issue instructions to their police forces to act immediately and arrest foreign nationals illegally living in India under Section 4 of the Passport Act. P V Shivraman, director (foreign) and central information officer of the MHA, in his reply to the RTI said that the Pakistanis came into the country with valid documents.
A revised procedure for detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants was communicated to the state governments in November 2009, which was partially modified in February 2011. The procedure includes sending back the illegal immigrants who are intercepted at the border as they enter India unauthorised.