As many as 146 Indian citizens used sexual orientation as a ground to seek asylum in the United Kingdom, according to latest figures that show Pakistan topping the overall list with 1,681 of its citizens mentioning the ground for asylum.
The figures released by the UK Home Office relate to three years — 2015, 2016 and 2017. During the period, the number of Indian citizens seeking asylum for various reasons was 3,839, providing another dimension to the migration of Indians to the UK.
Pakistan with 1,681 and Bangladesh with 753 top the list of countries with the highest number of citizens seeking asylum on sexual orientation grounds. Other countries in the top five are Nigeria, Uganda and Iran, the figures show.
The Home Office policy and information note on sexual orientation related to India mentions the September 2018 judgement of the Supreme Court on Section 377: “The historic ruling effectively scrapped the colonial law, which deemed sex between consenting gay men, a punishable offence”.
Most applications for asylum (not only on sexual orientation grounds) were made by Indians after arriving in the UK, indicating that they may have travelled on valid visas and applied for asylum later.
The figures also reveal that 1,996 Indians held in UK jails for various reasons were released during the year ending September 2018. Of these, 24 per cent were returned from the UK, 49 per cent were bailed, while 26 per cent left jails on other grounds.
Officials said the ‘returned from UK on leaving detention’ category includes enforced returns, voluntary returns and those refused entry at port (in the UK), who were subsequently detained and then left the country.
India figures on the third spot in the most number of citizens leaving detention during the year, after Albania (2,499) and Pakistan (2,255). But India does not figure in the top five countries whose citizens faced ‘enforced returns’; Pakistan is in the fifth position on this list.
First Published: Dec 15, 2018 21:37 IST
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