Exiled Baloch leader Brahumdagh Bugti’s plea seeking asylum in India has been received by the Home ministry and is being examined, an official said today.
"We have received Bugti's application for political asylum and it is under examination," a Home Ministry official said.
Bugti, who is heading the free Balochistan movement, had applied for asylum at the Indian consulate in Geneva on Tuesday and exuded confidence of a positive response from New Delhi.
The application was subsequently forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn sent it to the MHA.
India does not have a comprehensive asylum policy.
As per 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 1959 records to check the process.
In 1959, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his followers were granted asylum by the then Jawaharlal Nehru government.
"Ultimately, it is a political decision at the highest level but we need to follow the process for the requisite paperwork," the official said.
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 host states must provide refugees.
Bugti is President and founder of Baloch Republican Party.
He is the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader killed by the Pakistani army in 2006.
Bugti had gone into exile in Afghanistan after the death of Akbar Bugti in 2006. The Pakistani government had pressured Afghanistan to extradite him following which Bugti shifted to Switzerland in 2010. He had reportedly survived multiple attempts on his life in Afghanistan.
Pakistan government had blamed India for helping Bugti flee Pakistan to Geneva in 2010.
Bugti has said India's encouragement to the Baloch movement and has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support.
"I am thankful to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi for raising the issue of Balochistan in his Independence Day speech. It is a very good move. We are hopeful of India's continued support," he said.
On Monday, the Baloch leader had appealed to India to come out with a policy initiative so that people facing "atrocities" in Balochistan can come and feel secure in India.
He said many more Baloch leaders may seek asylum in India and added "we will see who all will need asylum (in India)."
If granted asylum, Bugti could be given a long-term visa to be renewed every year.
Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has been living in India since 1994 under long-term visa renewable every year.
The other scenario is that he will get registration certificate based on which he can travel anywhere in the world using it as a travel document, the official said.