Pakistani Hindu migrants to get banking and property rights in India

Official says govt is keen to extend facilities to migrants from Pakistan because they were victims of persecution

Web Desk July 15, 2015

NEW DELHI: Hindu migrants from Pakistan in India may soon be allowed to open bank accounts and purchase residential properties as part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) pre-election promise.

"We have a responsibility towards Hindus who are harassed and suffer in other countries, India is the only place for them," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, during his pre-elections campaign.

Before India’s Hindu nationalist BJP was sworn into power it ran a strong campaign for Hindu rights across the country and now the time has come to fulfill the promises made with the Hindu migrants from India’s neighbouring countries, including Pakistan.

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Hindu migrants on long-term visas in India will soon be able to open bank accounts on the basis of their visas and residential permits issued by the Foreigner Registration Office (FRO) or the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

“The government is keen to extend these facilities to Hindu migrants from Pakistan because it considers these Pakistani nationals victims of persecution,” senior government officials familiar with this development told The Economic Times on condition of anonymity.

India’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India, had earlier allowed to extend banking and property purchase facilities to Hindus from Pakistan.

Further, they said the government may also allow Hindu migrants from Pakistan to open non-resident ordinary (NRO) rupee account without RBI approvals.

Although, as per current rules, the Pakistani nationals and entities as well as Bangladeshi entities require RBI’s approval to open NRO accounts but the current Indian government is planning to exempt the Hindu migrants from any additional scrutiny.

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"There are various options on the table. We will examine them and also seek view of the home ministry regarding security concerns," a senior official said. "We are hopeful that the home ministry will support the move," said another official.

Last year, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said the government will prepare an action plan for the proper rehabilitation of Pakistani Hindu migrants in India.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Times.

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