Washington: US-based Hindu American Foundation (HAF) on Thursday expressed disappointment with the India`s decision to deny refugee status to Hindus fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan.
The announcement was made last Friday by the Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mullappally Ramachandran, during a session in the Lok Sabha.
"India`s refusal to classify Pakistani Hindus as refugees, despite having endured systematic oppression and discrimination, is unconscionable," said Samir Kalra, HAF`s director and senior fellow for Human Rights, who recently visited Pakistani Hindu camps in Jodhpur.
"Absent official refugee status or citizenship, these Pakistani Hindus are virtually stateless and lack the ability to move freely in India, obtain employment, or access basic government assistance," Kalra alleged.
A large number of Pakistani Hindus, primarily from Sindh province, have sought refuge in India in recent years, with an estimated 1,000 migrating annually to the northwestern state of Rajasthan, he said.