MHA Invites Citizenship Applications From Non-Muslim Refugees

The Union Home Ministry (MHA) stated that non-Muslims belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan living in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab to apply for Indian citizenship.

The fresh order is in no way connected to the Citizenship Amendment Act passed in 2019 as the rules under it are yet to be framed by the government, the MHA stated on Friday night.

The immediate implementation of the order is in accordance to the Citizenship Act 1955 and Rules framed under the law in 2009.

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This benefit is extended to minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who fulfil all conditions applicable to any foreign citizen seeking citizenship by naturalisation after a minimum of 11 years of residency in India. Under the CAA, the period for this category was cut to five years.

“In exercise of powers conferred under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the central government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it for registration as citizen of India under Section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act 1955 in respect of any person belonging to a minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, residing in the districts mentioned and the states mentioned below….,” the fresh notification said.

“The application for registration as citizen of India or grant of certificate of naturalisation as citizen of India under the said rules (Citizenship Rules, 2009) shall be made by the applicant online,” the notification added.

People who are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship are those currently living in the districts of Morbi, Rajkot, Patan, and Vadodara of Gujarat, Durg, and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer, and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab.

In 2016, the central government had in a similar step sought applications from members of these minority communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh living in 16 districts in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh. With Friday night’s order, the total number of districts where such facility is available has gone up to 29 districts in nine states.

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