Thursday 26 May 2022
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800 Pakistani Hindus returned after failing to secure Indian citizenship

As many as 7,306 Pakistani Hindus and followers of a few other religions from that country had applied for Indian citizenship until 14 December 2021

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In a picture contrasting the furore in Muslim and communist circles in India, who had broken into riots, peddling the unfounded fear that Indians would lose Indian citizenship due to the in the citizenship law (CAA), about 800 Pakistani Hindus in Rajasthan, who fled to India and sought citizenship on the basis of religious persecution, returned to the neighbouring country in 2021 after they failed to get citizenship. The CAA has not been implemented so far.

A group that fights for the rights of Pakistani minority migrants in India, Seemant Lok Sangathan (SLS), has made this claim.

“Many of them returned to Pakistan after they found that there had been no progress in their citizenship application,” it said.

SLS President Hindu Singh Sodha said, “Once they return, they are used by Pakistani agencies to defame India. They are paraded before the media and made to say that they were ill-treated here.”

In 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) initiated an online citizenship application process. It delegated the duty of accepting online applications to 16 collectors in seven states for citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jain, and Buddhists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.

While the entire process is online, the portal does not accept expired Pakistani passports, forcing Pakistani Hindus seeking refuge in India to rush to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to get their passports renewed for a hefty sum.

As many as 7,306 Pakistani Hindus and followers of a few other religions from that country had applied for Indian citizenship until 14 December 2021, Union minister of state for home affairs (MoS home) Nityanand Rai informed the parliament in December 2021.

The MoS said further that the applications for Indian citizenship were pending from other countries, including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the United States, Nepal and Bangladesh. He said that as many as 1,152 applications were pending from Afghanistan, 428 from “stateless”, 223 from the US and Sri Lanka and 189 and 161 from Nepal and Bangladesh, respectively. As many as 10 applications are pending from China as well, the minister told the parliament.

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