30,000 Pakistanis granted long term visas | Most of them Hindus
Speeding up efforts to grant long-term visas (LTVs) to “persecuted minorities” of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, India granted around 30,000 Pakistani nationals, mostly Hindus, LTVs since 2011, making them eligible to obtain PAN and Aadhaar cards as well as buy property.
The development comes at a time when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated in Assam to weed out the illegal migrants.
On the other hand, the Home Ministry has reduced the time limit for the security clearance of LTV applicants from 45 days to 21 days.
Altogether 6,902 Pakistani nationals have been given LTVs in 2018 till today. A total of 14,726 Pakistani citizens were given LTVs between 2011 and 2014 after they submitted applications in papers (offline), as per reports.
As per information available, since 2015, when the process of granting LTVs was made online, 2,142 Pakistani nationals were given LTVs in 2015, as many as 2,298 in 2016 and 4,712 in 2017.
Under the latest policy of Narendra Modi’s government, those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, namely – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – staying in India on LTVs, are allowed to purchase a small dwelling unit for self-use and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment. However, such communities are barred from buying immovable property in and around the restricted or protected areas, including the cantonment regions.
Such communities are also allowed to obtain the PAN cards, Aadhaar numbers and driving licenses. They will be able to take up self-employment or do business and are allowed free movement within the state of their stay and transfer of the LTV papers from one state to another, as per reports.
It may be mentioned that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that proposes citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014 has not been received positively in many states across the country, special Assam which is vulnerable to the influx.
There has been strong resistance to the bill in Assam as it seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh. Terming the Bill as a violation of the Assam Accord, several indigenous groups in Assam are protesting demanding immediate withdrawal of the Bill.
All Assam Students’ union along with 28 other organizations, representing the indigenous communities, have launched a ‘satyagraha’ to press for deportation of illegal migrants to be detected through the NRC, implementation of Clause VI of the Assam Accord among others.