The Union cabinet will take a call on Baloch separatist Brahamdagh Bugti's request for political asylum. His application is currently being vetted by intelligence agencies.
The Union home ministry has sent Bugti's application to the Intelligence Bureau for security clearance and expects a report in a week. “After an examination of Bugti's application for political asylum, we have sent it to security agencies for an in-depth vetting,“ a home ministry official said.
India has no comprehensive policy on political asylum. Hence, the final decision rests with the Cabinet, said officials. The home ministry is in favour of giving Bugti a long-term visa as has been done with Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, sources added. India last gave political asylum to Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and his followers in 1959, during former PM Jawaharlal Nehru's tenure. Bugti had applied for asy lum at the Indian consulate in Geneva last, week and the application was subsequently forwarded to the ministry of external affairs, which sent it to the home ministry .
According to the United Nations, there are at least 6,480 asylum-seekers in India but the government does not recognise them.
The situation is so complex that the officials in the home ministry are digging through the records of 1959 to check the process. Even the term `refugee' is not mentioned in any domestic law.
India has not signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention on the status of refugees, or its 1967 protocol that stipulates the rights and services the host states must provide the refugees.
Stone-pelters target civilians, woman dies
A woman was killed in Srinagar on Tuesday as stone-pelters attacked civilians for defying the separatists' shutdown call. Fozia (20) was hit by an SUV that was being reversed by the driver to escape stone-pelters, police said. Her 18-year-old sister was critically injured, while a man sustained a head injury in a separate incident.