Centre ready to make amendments to Citizenship Act

3 Jun 2016 | Written by Ramya ; Edited by Gaurav

The Home Ministry is reportedly ready to make amendments to the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The changes would grant citizenship to minorities from Bangladesh and Pakistan who moved to India, and also ensure that they are no longer tagged-'illegal migrants'.

Nearly 2 lakh Hindu migrants, who are treated as 'second-class citizens', would be benefited from the Centre's move that would allow them to claim citizenship.

In context: Citizenship for Hindu refugees in India

Definition of refugee

In a report, the United Nations defined refugees as someone "owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality.”

Reason Why do Pakistani Hindus migrate to India?

Pakistani Hindus who migrated to India stated that they left their homes to escape from religious discrimination, persecution, and government apathy.

Despite Pakistan's claims that Hindu community was safe, many refugees claimed that they faced several problems, including sexual harassment, in Pakistan.

Most of those migrating to India, cross the border and reach Delhi or other North Indian states like Haryana and Rajasthan.

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Advocacy groups in Rajasthan write to the Centre

21 Apr 2016Advocacy groups in Rajasthan write to the Centre

Seemant Lok Sangathan and other advocacy groups that work for Pakistani refugees in India had asked the Centre to empower all the district collectors in Rajasthan for granting citizenship to the refugees.

The demand came after the government proposal to grant to Pakistani Hindus and other minorities in 18 districts in India.

Rajasthan reportedly has the highest number of refugees from Pakistan-between 20,000-25,000.

3 Jun 2016Centre ready to make amendments to Citizenship Act

Passport Act and Foreigners Act to be amended

The Centre is also reportedly looking to make amendments to the Passport Act of 1920 (Entry to India), and also Foreigners Act of 1946 simultaneously along with the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Hindu RefugeesAbout 2000-5000 Hindus migrate from Pakistan

Some migrants seek refuge to escape religious and political persecution, while some migrate because of economic reasons.

However, the current amendments that are to be made by the Centre wouldn't apply to those migrants seeking economic migration.

Reportedly, about 2000-5000 Hindus in Pakistan move to India to flee religious violence and victimization.

The situation of the Hindus in Bangladesh is also similar.

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Election PromiseBJP promised to grant Indian citizenship

During 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP promised that Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh would be granted Indian citizenship.

The government has taken many steps to facilitate the grant of long-term visas to Hindu refugees until they get citizenship, after coming into power.

Recently, the Centre even proposed to provide long-term visas by offering driving licenses, Aadhar cards, and PAN cards.

6 Jun 2016Centre to grant citizenship to Pak Hindus

The Centre is to start a four-day camp from June 12-15 in Indore to grant Indian citizenship to the Sindhi Hindus who migrated to India from Pakistan between 1971 and 2009.

The All India Sindhi-Hindu Society said that over 35,000 Sindhis from Pakistan were living as refugees in Madhya Pradesh.

They estimate that of these almost 15,000 live in Indore and Bhopal.

25 Dec 2016Citizenship for Pakistani Hindus at Rs.100

The Home Ministry announced that the registration fee for Hindus and other minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh has been reduced from Rs.15000 to Rs.100.

The new rules were announced after amending various sections of the Citizenship Rules, and are applicable to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.

The move has been welcomed by minority communities in these countries.