The central government has decided, on humanitarian considerations, to exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, in respect of their entry and stay in India without proper documents or after the expiry of relevant documents, a statement issued by the Home Ministry said.
    
The decision has been taken under Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and Foreigners Act, 1946, it said. There are reports that a number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities in those countries, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, took 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. 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.
    
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi government came to power in May last year, several steps including issuance of Long Term Visa (LTV) for these refugees have been initiated.
    
    
There are 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jaipur. Hindu refugees from Bangladesh mostly live in West Bengal and northeastern States.

Latest News from India News Desk