The number of Indians seeking asylum has increased four times in three years. There is a marginal increase in the number of women applicants.
The figures reported for the number of Indian citizens seeking asylum in the US in 2015 compared to the two previous years were obtained from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services under Freedom of Information Act by North American Punjabi Association executive director Satnam Singh Chahal.
It is generally men who make the traitorous journey with the help of human traffickers from Moscow into South America, and from there into the US through the Mexican border.
The US authorities refused to give the backgrounds of the applicants or why they sought asylum but in the recent past, there have been a number of cases of Punjabis illegally reaching the US shores and then asking for asylum.
“Although the real reason behind the rise in asylum seekers from India is not known, a clear trend is noticeable. The way I read it, there is noticeable increase in their numbers after BJP came to power in Delhi in 2014,”
“The reasons can be different from year to year, but the government should also look at the issues of intolerance in the country.”
Chahal explained that in the year of 2013, Indian origin 513 total people applied for asylum out of which 21 were female and 60 persons were granted asylum. This number of asylum seekers increased to more than double in the year 2014 to total 1309. Out of these total asylum seekers, 23 were female and 77 persons were granted the asylum during this year.
This is more than unfortunate that during the year of 2015 number of asylum seekers increased four times more than the year 2013 which is a serious concern for all of us.
It was reported that a large number of Punjabis had taken asylum in the US and elsewhere during the Khalistan militancy era in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Many are believed to be on a government ‘blacklist’ because of which they don’t get visas to India. This often becomes an issue when political leaders meet NRI groups.
It was said that it can be because of the rising intolerance in the country but to bring in the notice, the “intolerance” issue was framed selectively and turned out to be political dissent.
Like the Award Wapsi brigade got silent over the issue of Malda riots but shattered by the Dadri Lynching case. It was questioned that why are the protesters playing their part being selective? Intolerance factor remains debatable, questionable and goes under the vain for the rise in the number of seekers for the US asylum.
Punjab Governance Reforms Commission chairman Dr Parmod Kumar said that there is no strong factor, which can explain this trend of people fleeing the country and seek asylum in the US.
“Illegal human trafficking can be one of the reasons,” he said.