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No hope of Indian visa to asylum seeking NRIs

Posted on August 13, 2012
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Thousands of non-resident Indians settled in different countries after having got citizenship there on the basis of “political asylum” are being refused visa by the Government of India thus barring them from the country for good.
However, the move is strongly being questioned by the affected people and several other rights groups saying it effectively bars the people from visiting their native countries although they don’t even have a criminal case pending against them.
There are several such people who went to different countries like the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and other European countries on the basis of political asylum. And most of these people used the pretext of “political asylum” just to settle down in those countries although they were not victimized in any way back home.
The process started during terrorism in Punjab in the 1980s when pro-Khalistan elements moved to different countries and got political asylum there. In foreign-crazy Punjab, it came as a handy tool for those who wanted to go abroad and settle down there.
Once the situation normalized back home, they started coming back. However, of late, the Government of India barred all those who had taken citizenship of the foreign country on the basis of “political asylum” from coming to India.
Earlier, only those people who had been blacklisted by the Government of India were denied visa. But now those also who sought political asylum in different countries have been barred from getting Indian visa.
The Indian state is of the view that those people who disowned their country and that too, on the false pretext, do not deserve to come back. A senior official pointed out all those who sought asylum painted a dirty picture of the country in their prospective countries saying there was genocide and victimization of minorities taking place in India which was absolutely false. This only created a poor image of India in those countries.
However, several NRIs who have been denied visa on this basis said earlier they did not have any problem getting the visa and it has happened only now. They said the Government of India should take a considerate view on the issue since those wanting to visit the country will only create goodwill. Moreover, the government should give visas to those against whom there are no adverse intelligence reports or criminal cases pending.
Interestingly, the Government of India has allowed scores of Kashmiri militants to return from Pakistan and Pakistani administered Kashmir without any hassles. They are not only being allowed back but even rehabilitated with financial aid while it has been denying even visitors’ visa to those who only used a pretext to get foreign citizenship.
August 8, 2012
Vimal Sumbly

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