No refugee status to Pakistani Hindus: Government
NEW DELHI: 16 March, Government today ruled out granting refugee status to Pakistani Hindu immigrants who have crossed over to India to escape persecution there. "At the moment, we cannot grant them refugee status," Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran said replying to a discussion on a private members' resolution in the Lok Sabha. He, however, said no Pakistani national, whose application for long-term visa was under consideration of government, would be deported to Pakistan. The Minister also listed a number of steps taken by the government since 1955 to address matters related to persons displaced from Pakistan. The resolution on 'Formulation of an Action Plan to Rehabilitate Persons Displaced from Pakistan', moved by Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP), was negatived after being put to voice vote. As per convention, a member withdraws the resolution after the reply by the Minister. Meghwal insisted that his conscience did not permit him to follow the convention as he was not satisfied with the Minister's reply.
Meghwal said the government had not given any assurance on issues raised by him including conducting a survey of Pakistani nationals residing in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Indore and alleged ill-treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Hindu, Christian, Ahmadiyya Muslim and Parsi communities. He also wanted the government to take care of Pakistani Hindus, numbering more than 17,000, who have taken refuge at private-run transit camps in Jodhpur.