|Photo Credit: Sahit Abuja|
Iskcon governing body commission member GK Goswami and president of Iskcon, Baroda, BG Das, met MoS Home HP Chaudhary on Tuesday and requested for a considerate view to be taken of the cause of their some foreign devotees who wish to breathe their last in India. Iskcon pointed out to the minister that it has a group of foreign devotees who are aged, have spent long time in India with it and now wish to be here till they die.
"They consider the land of Mathura, Vrindavan and Varanasi as holy where they wish to breathe their last here in the lap of Lord Krishna rather than abroad. We have made a request to the minister to make an exception for them and work out an arrangement by which they can stay here for long and do not have to go back repeatedly to their home abroad and re-apply for visas," Das told ET.
He said there have been cases where foreign devotees in their 70s and 80s have to travel back abroad and return to India, given the visa regime, and are not able to spend longer time here. "Frequent travel abroad and re-applying for visas is a drain on the resources of these aged devotees. We have requested for an exception to be made for them. Iskcon devotees have made a hospital for the terminally-ill devotees in Mathura where people wish to stay and breathe their last," Das said.
Home ministry officials said visas for Iskcon foreign devotees are generally granted under the tourist visa category which are valid for 180 days for a single visit and they can re-enter within 60 days of the last departure within this period.