Centre asks 2 Gujarat districts to grant citizenship to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh minorities
Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists and Jains will get citizenship under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and not the amended law in 2019.
The Union home ministry on Monday asked the district collectors of Mehsana and Anand in Gujarat to grant citizenship certificates to members of Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, Buddhist and Jain communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh under the Citizenship Act, 1955, reported The Indian Express.
The notification was issued for legal migrants, who had already applied for citizenship under Section 5 (by registration) and Section 6 (naturalisation) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, reported The Hindu.
The Citizenship Amendment Act passed in 2019 also grants citizenship to six non-Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who came to India before December 31, 2014. However, the rules under the law have not been framed yet.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday asked the authorities that the application of the migrants from the three countries should be made online, reported The Hindu. The verification of the applications will be done by the district collectors and then forwarded to Central agencies.
In August, Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi had handed over Indian citizenship certificates to 40 Pakistani Hindus, reported The Times of India. Since 2016, the collector’s office in Ahmedabad has granted 1,032 citizenship certificates to Hindus from Pakistan, according to the newspaper.
The Ministry of Home Affairs often delegates district administration of states with powers to grant citizenship certificates to migrants from the six communities who entered India on a passport or visa.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is hearing over 200 petitions against the contentious Act passed in 2019 that petitioners argue promotes religion-based discrimination and violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which deals with equality before the law.
Critics fear that the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 clubbed with the National Register of Citizens, will be misused to target Muslims in the country. The National Register of Citizens is meant to be a list of legal Indian citizens.
It was compiled after two draft versions and excluded 19 lakh applicants when it was published in Assam in August 2019.