The deck has been cleared for the return of 410 Hindus from Pakistan. These persons, all Hindus, had gone to Pakistan to meet their relatives, but got stranded there because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, under special permission granted by the Indian government, they are set to return.
HC hearing a petition on the issue
A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur is hearing a PIL on this issue. The Union government informed through its counsel Vipul Singhvi that these 410 persons are originally Pakistanis. The Centre clarified that they were living in India under term visa(LTV).
They had gone to Pakistan to visit their families for 60 days, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, they could not travel back to India. They were facing severe hardships in Pakistan. Now, efforts are being made for their return.
Special permission from Centre
The lawyer informed that under the Citizens Amendment Act, their returns would be made possible. These persons would be given the NORI visas. Hence, they would return to India via the Attari border.
The Indian government has extended the term of the NORI (No Objection to Return to India) visas issued to at least 410 Pakistani Hindu immigrants. The immigrants were living in India on long-term visas. However, their short-trip to Pakistan earlier this year left them stranded due to the travel restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19.
The Union government informed the high court that the term of the lapsed NORI visas of such migrants will be treated as deemed extended for a period up to 15 days from the date of the lifting of such travel restrictions by the government of India.
Centre decided to extend NORI visas in May
The Union the government had taken a decision in May this year to extend the NORI visas. But this decision could not be implemented properly by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad due to some technical difficulties.
The Ministry of External affairs (MEA) gave details to MHA of 410 Pak nationals, who held NORI visas issued by India. They were registered with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad for the purpose of return to India. It was then decided to allow the return of these individuals through the integrated border check post at Attari,. However, their return is subject to adherence to the health/ COVID protocols issued by the health ministry.
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