4,300 Hindus, Sikhs from Pakistan, Afghanistan get Indian citizenship

Published June 15, 2015
There are around 200,000 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan currently living in India. —Online/File
There are around 200,000 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan currently living in India. —Online/File
There are around 200,000 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan currently living in India. —AFP/file
There are around 200,000 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan currently living in India. —AFP/file

NEW DELHI: As a first step to granting Indian nationality to some 200,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, the BJP-led government has given citizenship to around 4,300 Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and Afghanistan in one year, according to sources.

During the entire tenure of the previous government, the figure stood at 1,023. The refugees have been given citizenship on the initiative of Home Minister Rajnath Singh following BJP’s declared policy that India is a “natural home for persecuted Hindus” who will be welcome to seek refuge.

During his election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Pakistani and Bangladeshi Hindu refugees would be treated like any other Indian citizen.

Also read: 5,000 Hindus migrating to India every year, NA told

There are around 200,000 Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan currently living in India.

Since the Modi government assumed charge in May 2014, nearly 19,000 refugees have been given long-term visas in Madhya Pradesh. Around 11,000 long-term visas were given in Rajasthan and another 4,000 in Gujarat, official sources said.

In April, the home ministry had unveiled an online system for submission of applications for long-term visas.

The decision has been taken to address the hardship being faced by the refugees who come to India with the intention to settle permanently.

There are about 400 settlements for refugees from Pakistan in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jaipur. Hindu refugees from Bangladesh mostly live in West Bengal and northeastern states. Sikh refugees mostly live in Punjab, Delhi and Chandigarh.

By arrangement with the Times of India

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Security lapses
Updated 13 Apr, 2024

Security lapses

Ensuring the safety of foreign citizens is paramount, not just for diplomatic relations but for our economic future.
An eventful season
13 Apr, 2024

An eventful season

THE Senate chairman and deputy chairman were elected unopposed, and 41 new senators were sworn in on Tuesday,...
Living rough
13 Apr, 2024

Living rough

WE either don’t see them or don’t want to see them — not even when they are actively trying to get our...
Saudi investment
Updated 10 Apr, 2024

Saudi investment

The state has to address barriers that stand in the way of attracting foreign investment, and create a pro-business environment.
Charity for change
Updated 11 Apr, 2024

Charity for change

PAKISTANIS are large-hearted people who empty their pockets at the slightest hint of another’s need. The Stanford...