The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday gave consent for an extension in a special class visa that had expired for 410 Hindu refugees left stranded in Pakistan. The MHA made the submission earlier than the Jodhpur Bench of Rajasthan High Court throughout a listening to of a petition relating to points and issues of refugees from Pakistan.
This comes as a significant reduction for the immigrants who had been staying in India on long-term visa (LTV) and had gone to the neighbouring nation for a brief journey on the special NORI visa earlier than the nationwide coronovirus-induced lockdown was first imposed in March this yr.
The NORI visa allows LTV holders with no Indian citizenship to journey to Pakistan and return inside 60 days.
“Due to the lockdown, the 410 people got stranded there as the visa period of 60 days expired”, stated Hindu Singh Sodha, President of Seemant Lok Sangathan, a welfare organisation for such refugees.
During the earlier listening to on August 19, the excessive court docket was apprised of the plight of stranded NORI visa holders in Pakistan and had sought a reply from the the Centre about serving to them come to India.
The MHA, in its reply to the court docket by means of its counsel, stated, “It has been decided that return visa in respect of such LTV holding Pakistani nationals, who had gone to Pakistan on NORI visa before the lockdown and stranded there due to travel restrictions, may be treated as deemed extended for a period up to 15 days from the date on which travel restrictions from Pakistan to India are lifted by the GoI”.
The extension of the NORI visa will assist the stranded immigrants to register with the High Commission of India (HCI) in Islamabad with all supporting paperwork that will allow the MHA to take up the matter with safety companies.
The HCI in Islamabad can have to intimate the MHA with the names and particulars of all such Pakistani nationals, who register with them for return visa extension.
The visa extension will likely be stamped on their passports at Attari border in Punjab on their arrival, the place they are going to be examined for coronavirus after getting into India.
The situation had hit the headlines in July when one such Hindu refugee, Janta Mali, had gone to go to her ailing mom in Mirpur Khas, Pakistan in February on NORI visa along with her husband and youngsters, however was not allowed to return later due to the expiry of her visa. She obtained stranded there whereas her husband and youngsters, who’re Indian residents, travelled again to India.
Two shuttle companies had been rolled out after lifting of lockdown curbs for the return of the immigrants in July, however these 410 refugees had been not noted due to expiry of their visa interval.