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Centre to grant citizenship to minorities of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan under Citizenship Act, 1955

According to a notification by the Union Home Ministry, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians residing in the districts of Anand and Mehsana in Gujarat will be allowed registration as a citizen of India.

Vani Mehrotra Edited By: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Published on: November 01, 2022 10:30 IST
citizenship to minorities, Pakistan minorities, Afghanistan minorities, Indian citizenship
Image Source : PTI/REPRESENTATIVE Centre to grant citizenship to minorities of Pak, B'desh, Afghan under Citizenship Act, 1955

Highlights

  • Citizenship will be granted under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and not the controversial CAA, 2019
  • The rules under the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act have not been framed by the govt yet
  • All minorities will have to submit their applications online for citizenship

The Central government has decided to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians arriving in the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, currently living in two districts of Gujarat, under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The move to grant citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and not the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) bears significance.

Though the CAA also provides for granting Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, however, as the rules under the Act have not been framed by the government yet, no one so far could be granted citizenship under the said act.

According to a notification by the Union Home Ministry, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians residing in the districts of Anand and Mehsana in Gujarat will be allowed registration as a citizen of India under section 5 or will be granted a certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2009.

How will citizenship be granted?

All such people will have to submit their applications online, which will then be verified by the collector at the district level. 

The application and reports thereon shall be simultaneously made accessible online to the central government, the notification read.

The collector may make such inquiry as he considers necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant and for that purpose, forward the application online to such agencies for verification and comments as may be required for completing such an inquiry, it said.

After completing the entire process, the collector, being satisfied with the suitability of the applicant, will grant him or her citizenship of India by registration or naturalisation and will issue a certificate of registration or naturalisation, as the case may be, the notification said.

The Citizenship Amendment Act

In January 2020, the Home Ministry notified that the Citizenship Amendment Act would come into force from January 10, 2020, but it later requested the parliamentary committees in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to give it some more time to implement rules as the country was going through its worst ever health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last fortnight, the Union Home Ministry was granted yet another extension by the Parliamentary Committees on Subordinate Legislation in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha to frame the rules of the CAA.

While the permission has been granted from the Rajya Sabha till December 31, 2022, the Lok Sabha has granted time till January 9, 2023.

This was the seventh extension given to the Home Ministry to frame the rules under the CAA.

(With inputs from PTI)

Also Read | 80% non-Muslims in Pakistan underpaid; half posts reserved for minorities vacant: Report

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