Indian citizenship for Hindus from Pakistan to be made easier: Government

There are around 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Lucknow.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: April 17, 2016 6:28 pm
Photo for representational purpose Photo for representational purpose

People belonging to minority communities of Pakistan, staying in India on a Long Term Visa, will soon be allowed to buy property, open bank accounts and get PAN and Aadhaar cards, with the Modi government planning to roll out special facilities for them.

Among other concessions the BJP-led government is all set to offer them include reduction in fees for registration as citizens of India from Rs 15,000 to as low as Rs 100.

Though the exact number of minority refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan living in India is not known, according to rough official estimates there are around two lakh such people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs.

There are around 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Lucknow.

“The central government has been constantly reviewing the hardships being faced by the minority communities in Pakistan staying in India on LTV. To ease some of their difficulties, it is proposed to provide the facilities,” a notification issued by the Home Ministry says.

The facilities include permitting opening of bank accounts without prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India subject to certain conditions, permission for purchase of dwelling unit for self-occupation and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment without prior approval of RBI subject to fulfilment of certain conditions.

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Issue of driving licence, PAN and Aadhaar cards, permission to take up self-employment or for doing business which is considered safe from security point of view, dispensing with the requirement of personal appearance before the Foreigners Registration Officer for registration are a few other facilities being planned.

Allowing free movement within the State/ UT where they are staying instead of restricting their movement within the place of stay, allowing free movement to those living in the National Capital Region (NCR), simplifying the procedure for visit to a place in any other State/ UT are being proposed.

Permission for transfer of LTV papers from one State/ UT to another State/ UT, waiver of penalty on non-extension of short term visa/ LTV on time, permission to apply for LTV at the place of present residence in cases where the applicants have moved to the present place of residence without prior permission are some of the other highlights.

It has also been proposed to simplify the procedure for grant of Indian citizenship to such nationals belonging to minority communities in Pakistan.

Collector, Deputy Commissioner or the District Magistrate will be empowered to authorise, in his absence, in writing an officer not below the rank of Sub-Divisional Magistrate for administering the oath of allegiance to the applicant.

Powers will be given to the Collectors or the District Magistrates of a few select districts in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for a period of two years for registration of such Pakistani nationals as citizens of India.

“Reduction of fees for registration as citizen of India for nationals of Pakistan belonging to minority communities from the existing level ranging from Rs 5000 (under registration) to Rs 15,000 (under naturalisation), to a uniform fee of Rs 100/- each at the time of application and at the time of grant of certificate of registration/ naturalisation,” the notification says.

Ever since the Narendra Modi government came to power in May 2014, several steps including issuance of Long Term Visa (LTV) for these refugees have been initiated.

In September 2015, the government had decided to allow minority refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay evenafter expiry of their visas on humanitarian grounds.

In April 2015, the Home Ministry rolled out an online system for LTV applications and for their processing by various security agencies.

In November 2014, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had approved a number of facilities for them, including manual acceptance of applications for citizenship and consideration of an affidavit filed before the authority in return for citizenship renunciation certificate in case of the individual having a Pakistani passport. The same facilities were to be extended to the children of such refugees.

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  1. A
    Abhinav Gour
    Apr 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm
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    1. A
      Abhinav Gour
      Apr 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm
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        Ding Dong
        Apr 17, 2016 at 9:40 am
        Absolutely 50% of land in Kasmor valley must be reserved for Hindus from stan , afterall they have been deprived of land ownership in India for all of the post independence period
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          PPrasad78
          Apr 17, 2016 at 7:54 am
          Great move, Hindus must look after one another first before helping out others !lt;br/gt;Watch out now - Award Wapasi thugs and the Lal am useless brigade will now make some noises on "Intolerance" !
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          1. A
            Amit Khattar
            May 24, 2016 at 7:35 am
            By when the below is expected?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Powers will be given to the Collectors or the District Magistrates of a few select districts in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for a period of two years for registration of such stani nationals as citizens of India.
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              anadi
              Apr 17, 2016 at 10:39 am
              Superb !!! Really Humanitarian effort by Modi Govt .. Appeal to st ani Govt - make similar arrangements for Muslims (like Shahrukh Khan) who feel they are NOT happy in India, so that they can become stani Citizen
              Reply
              1. B
                Babu Gupta
                Apr 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm
                There are some 195 countries in the world at present. There are some 50 – 60 muslim countries (world potion about 22%), as many Christian countries (world potion about 31%) and no Hindu country for 15% of world Hindu potion. India (also Nepal) is the only country where Hindus are in majority but the country itself is secular officially and pro-minority in reality for vote bank. In India also, there are places like Kashmir Valley from where Hindus have been driven out and are living like refugees in their own countries. Are Hindus very large hearted, cowards or too naive for not having even one designated country for them? Please comment.
                Reply
                1. K
                  karthik
                  Apr 17, 2016 at 7:40 am
                  Finally a Govt. caring for Hindus too.Long awaited development.
                  Reply
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