New Delhi : The central government on Friday invited applications for Indian citizenship from non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, living in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification for the immediate implementation of this direction under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the rules made thereunder in 2009.
It is known that the Central Government has not yet set rules and regulations under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which came into force in 2019. This law was strongly opposed in many parts of the country. On May 28, the central government started calling for this application.
In the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, it has been said, ‘In exercise of the powers given in Section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, the Central Government has recognized the minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh as Indian citizens under Section-5. It has been decided to register or issue a certificate of Indian citizenship under section 6. Non-muslim of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh residing in Morbi, Rajkot, Patan, Vadodara (Gujarat), Durg and Balodabazar (Chhattisgarh), Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer, Sirohi (Rajasthan), Faridabad (Haryana) and Jalandhar (Punjab) are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship online under this.’
When the CAA law was enacted in 2019, there were widespread protests against it in various parts of the country. Even riots took place in the capital Delhi in early 2020 in the wake of these protests. Only after this law is still in abeyance. Under the CAA, a provision has been made to give Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian refugees who have come to India by December 31, 2014, victims of persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that the application of the refugees can be verified by the Secretary of State or DM of the district. There will be online portals for this. Apart from this, the DM or the Home Secretary of the state will create an online and written register as per the rules of the Center, which will contain information about the registration of refugees as citizens of India. A copy of this will have to be sent to the Central Government within seven days.