• Acquiring citizenship for Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh to become easier

    June 03, 2016

    After becoming the Prime Minister of India, many termed Narendra Modi as the “savior” of the Hindus all around the world. With many humanitarian and political feats under his belt, the PM has now decided that the country should be a “natural home” for persecuted Hindus all around the world. To make this manifesto promise come true, the government has decided to draft amendments to citizenship law that will exempt minority citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh who have come to India out of fear of religious prosecution from being tagged as "illegal migrants".

    The changes to the Citizenship Act, 1955, will give a legal path to the refugees to remain in India and even claim citizenship, a move in tune with the Modi government's unambiguous desire to be seen as a protector of Hindus facing adverse circumstances in these countries.

    The move stands to benefit nearly 2 lakh Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh who often complain they are treated as "second-class citizens" and are vulnerable to violence. They have also often found themselves at the receiving end of blasphemy laws.

    The decision to come to the aid of Hindu minorities, even while discouraging Muslim migrants driven by economic conditions from Bangladesh as "outsiders", marks the government's decision to consciously differentiate between types of migrants even if this attracts criticism of working to a Hindutva agenda.

    Powers will be given to the collectors or district magistrates of a few select districts in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for a period of two years for registration of such Pakistani nationals as citizens of India.

    "Reduction of fees for registration as citizen of India for nationals of Pakistan belonging to minority communities from the existing level ranging from Rs. 5,000 (under registration) to Rs. 15,000 (under naturalization), to a uniform fee of Rs 100/- each at the time of application and at the time of grant of certificate of registration/ naturalization," the notification says.


    There are around 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Lucknow. Though the exact numbers are not known, there are approximately 2 lakh Hindus and Sikhs living as refugees in neighboring regions around India. While many consider this to be a humanitarian help towards the people, many political critics term this as a pure political act to gain pure political mileage. What comes out of these propositions is to be seen but on the surface of it, the propositions is a gift to the persecuted.

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