‘Allow all collectors to give citizenship to Pak Hindus’


Jaipur: Advocacy groups working for the cause of Pakistani refugees in India have asked the Union government to empower district collectors of all districts in Rajasthan for awarding citizenship to refugees.

The demand came after Indian government’s proposal for granting citizenship to Pakistani Hindus and other religious minorities living in 18 districts in the country including Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

Seemant Lok Sangathan, a body based in Jodhpur, has shot a letter to the ministry of external affairs requesting that at least in Rajasthan, which has the highest number of Pakistani refugees, estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000 spread across districts, powers should be given to all the collectors. Else many refugees will suffer.

They contended that a new proposal can end the sufferings of the persecuted Pakistani Hindus living as refugees in their ancestral land to an extent. However, they cannot integrate properly till institutional changes are made in the Citizenship Act 1955, and a robust policy put in place for their rehabilitation. It requires joint effort by both the state and the Union government.

“The Citizenship Act 1955 says that a citizenship should be granted to a refugee staying minimum of seven years here. It should be made least possible stay. It is seen that in a period of seven years they get subjected to inhuman treatment with no jobs, education, access to medical care and harassment at the hand of the police,” said Hindu Singh Soda of Lok Sangathan.

 Another major demand the body is pressing for is a small change in the Citizenship Act 1955, which can bring more Hindus or minorities into the fold of their ancestral land. The Act guarantees to register Pakistani Hindus who are either born in undivided India or are wards of such parents.
“This section becomes outdated for the present generation of Pakistani Hindus as they are third generation. It denies the present Pakistani Hindus the right of easy citizenship in India. Our demand is to allow every citizen whose ancestors were from India,” said Singh.
Thus many such Pak Hindu migrants acquire citizenship after spending 7-14 years of stay in India.

Source: The Times of India