Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday assured of providing long-term visas to Pakistani Hindu refugees living in the national capital as well as enable them to settle in India. He said the grant of citizenship will be expedited as per the provisions of the law and all Hindu refugees will be accepted as the country's citizens.
Shah said the head of the family would get a certificate and it will be valid for the rest of the family as well.
Hundreds of Pakistani Hindus fled the neighbouring country to seek refuge here after facing religious persecution. They came to India on tourist, pilgrim or visitor visas and want to settle down in India. These families did not return to Pakistan as they felt unsafe there and hoped to get Indian citizenship.
Around 750 Hindus are living in makeshift tents on the Yamuna bank and homes in north Delhi's Majnu ka Tila area that have unplastered walls and metal roofs. Many others live in resettlement colonies on the outskirts of New Delhi in Rohini's Sectors 9 and 11, Adarsh Nagar and near the Signature Bridge.
Shah's assurance came when a delegation of these Pakistani Hindus led by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee President Manjinder Singh Sirsa met him and pleaded to grant citizenship to these families. Sirsa thanked Shah for taking various measures and initiatives like the Citizen Amendment Act for granting Indian citizenship to such people facing persecution. The DSGMC chief said he discussed with Shah in detail about the insecurity these people faced in Pakistan.
"There was a threat that they too will be abducted, forced to convert and marry a Muslim against their wish. The purpose of getting them to meet the Home Minister was to bring back their lost confidence and work on the modalities so that they could be considered for Indian citizenship under the new Act," Sirsa said.
Sirsa said kidnapping of Hindu and Sikh girls has become a routine affair in Pakistan and no family dared to lodge a complaint with police against fundamentalists.