Migrants belonging to six non-Muslim minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who got here to India on legitimate paperwork earlier than 2014 are eligible to apply on-line for citizenship from any a part of the nation, a senior authorities official stated.
In March, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wrote to all States, together with Assam, sensitising them of the related provisions underneath the Citizenship Act, 1955 that might assist the six communities- Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis, who entered India earlier than 2014 and are right here on long run visa (LTV), expedite their citizenship software.
The official asserted that this explicit consciousness drive was not associated to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) that’s supposed to profit undocumented (unlawful migrants) from the six persecuted communities who entered India earlier than December 31, 2014.
The CAA is but to come into pressure as the principles that govern the legislation haven’t been notified by the ministry but.
“A survey was done and it was found that such migrants live in many parts of the country. The States have been made aware that provisions exist that could help the migrants in acquiring citizenship if they fulfil the criteria. This is to help the applicants who have applied online from any part of the country, as the verification is also done by the local police who have to send the report to the Home Ministry,” stated the official.
Assam is the one State the place a National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been compiled. More than 19 lakh of the three.29 crore candidates within the State have been excluded from the ultimate register. The State authorities has demanded reverification of the method as a lot of Hindus had been not noted. The excluded individuals from the six communities, who’re but to be declared unlawful migrants, will profit from the CAA as and when it’s carried out as laws advantages such migrants from the three neighbouring international locations who entered India illegally earlier than 2014.
A day in the past, chief of the Opposition within the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia stated in a press release that simply earlier than the Assembly elections, the State authorities, on March 19, citing a letter from the Centre, instructed deputy commissioners, superintendents of police, Foreigners Registration Officers “to disseminate information regarding grant of citizenship to migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who hold Long Term Visas.”
Mr. Saikia alleged that for the reason that CAA was launched for migrants from these three particular international locations, there was cause to suspect that the State authorities’s newest instruction was nothing however a ploy to implement the Act in a roundabout means.
On May 28, The MHA empowered 13 extra District Collectors in Gujarat Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab to grant citizenship certificates to candidates belonging to the six communities underneath Section 5 (registration) and Section 6 (naturalisation) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Earlier in 2016, 16 Collectors had been granted such powers that was prolonged once more in 2018.
Citizenship is a Home Ministry topic however it may possibly delegate powers to States for particular goal.
Though the exact variety of such migrants who availed the LTV and are eligible for citizenship will not be recognized, officers estimate the quantity to be round two lakh.
The MHA knowledgeable a joint parliamentary committee in 2018 that 31,313 individuals belonging to minority communities got LTVs on the premise of their declare of non secular persecution. The LTV, initially given for a interval of 5 years, is a precursor of Citizenship.
In 2011, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance authorities determined to grant LTV to lots of of Hindus and Sikhs who got here to India, claiming spiritual persecution in Pakistan. Many got here on pilgrim visa and continued to keep right here after the expiry of their passports. According to MHA information, the LTV granted to Pakistani Hindus from 2011-2014 stood at 14,726.
In 2015, the ministry amended the Citizenship guidelines and legalised the keep of the overseas migrants belonging to the six communities who entered India on or earlier than December, 2014 due to persecution on grounds of faith by exempting them from provisions of the Passport Act and the Foreigners Act as their passports expired.