INDIA: Easier citizenship for Pakistani Hindus

The Indian government on Sunday has announced that it is about to propose a simplified procedure for the issue of citizenship to Hindu minorities from Pakistan. A higher home ministry official said that minority communities of Pakistani’s staying in India for a long term Visa can apply for permanent account number(PAN), bank accounts, Aadhaar number, and to buy properties. The government is also planning to issue driving licence, permission for self-employment or doing business to be considered safe other than issuing Aadhaar cards and PAN cards.

The districts of Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Kutch and Patan (Gujarat), Bhopal and Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune and Thane (Maharashtra), West Delhi and South Delhi (National Capital Territory), Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) are in these list. The collectors and district magistrates of these 18 districts will be empowered for two year’s period to grant citizenship to these minority people at low reduced fees. These are only  at proposal stage, the official told IANS and sought public comments and suggestions on the measures proposed.

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In respect to humanitarian considerations, the government has decided in September 2015 to exempt the Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals who belong to these minority communities. People who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, are allowed to stay even after expiry of their Visa or travel documents. There are approximately two lakh people mostly Hindus and Sikhs who are living in India. These minority refugees are mostly from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afganistan.

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