The latest group of 480 had refused to apply for long-term visas

Over 3,300 Hindus from Pakistan have so far obtained long-term visas and have been living in different parts of the Capital. While for the past several years these migrants have been getting their visas extended periodically, they are also engaged in various jobs and even make occasional trips to Pakistan.

However, the latest group of 480 Hindus, which entered the country over a month ago on a one-month visa for taking a dip in the Ganga during the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, had refused to apply for long-term visas; have instead demanded that they be given either refugee status or permanent citizenship. These Pakistani Hindus, of whom one recently passed away, are at present camping in Bijwasan.

“They have sent a list of names to the Delhi Government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The letter was forwarded to the Central Government which reverted that they would have to follow set procedures,” a police source said, adding that the issue has now acquired a political undertone.

“They were on a one-month visa which has expired. Their short-term visas can be extended for a month by us, but they have refused to apply for the same. The group had entered the country in three batches and had reported to us between March 8 and 14,” said another police source.

Had the group members applied for long-term visas, they could have initially obtained permission to stay for a year and the duration could further be extended for six to seven years, said the police officer. “Under the Citizenship Act, they could have during the time period applied for citizenship. However, they are not even agreeing to take that route, which has complicated the matter for the authorities concerned.”

Officers said even Afghan Hindus have been granted long-term visas and they have been extended all basic facilities.

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