Pakistani nationals staying in the Indian city of Bikaner in Rajasthan state have been asked to leave the area within 48 hours, allegedly to avoid the building up of a law and order situation as anti-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir sentiment soars in India in the wake of the Pulwama attack, the Times of India reported.
The Bikaner district collector Kumar Pal Gautam issued the orders on Monday with immediate effect, said the TOI in its report.
The orders will remain applicable for a period of two months, or until they are cancelled. Those violating the orders face the threat of prosecution under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
The order referred to a so-called resentment against Pakistanis among locals following the killing of 41 soldiers in a suicide blast in occupied Kashmir last week ─ the worst attack on Indian paramilitaries in the region in 30 years. The attack was claimed by proscribed organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad.
India has accused Pakistan of having a hand in the attack, but Pakistan rejects any insinuation and allegation that seeks to link it to Islamabad without an investigation. Pakistan's FO had condemned the attack, saying that it was “a matter of grave concern”.
Section 144 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code ─ which prevents the assembly of more than four people in an area ─ has been imposed in Bikaner, and Pakistani nationals in the revenue border area have been asked to leave the place.
The administration in its orders mentioned that the stay of Pakistani nationals is prohibited in guest houses, hotels and hospitals, and that businessmen will not maintain direct or indirect business ties with Pakistani nationals or provide them employment, the TOI reported.
Additionally, residents in Bikaner have been ordered not to exchange any sort of sensitive information over digital communications, and to refrain from using SIMs registered in Pakistan.
Any Pakistani citizen who objects to the order will be permitted to approach the district magistrate and submit a report.
According to a senior government official quoted by The Hindu, Delhi is worried about attacks on Kashmiris in India since it could lead to alienation and catalyse radicalisation among residents of occupied Kashmir. Multiple reports have come in of Kashmiri Muslim citizens being harassed or attacked in the aftermath of the Pulwama bombing.
Peremptory order exposes 'sham facade of Indian hospitality': FO
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal described the "peremptory order" a "condemnable reflection of Indian jingoism", adding that "it also exposes sham facade of Indian hospitality."