Less than three months after Home Minister Amit Shah said 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have been granted Indian citizenship in the last five years, the government on Wednesday told Parliament that it does not maintain religion-wise data on those granted Indian citizenship.
It said close to 19,000 nationals from these three countries, as well as Sri Lanka and Myanmar, have been granted Indian citizenship since 2014.
The high number from the eastern neighbour was due to the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) signed in 2015, through which enclaves were exchanged between the two countries.
If LBA numbers are removed, the government granted maximum citizenship to nationals from Pakistan, followed by those from Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
While 15,036 of these 18,999 people are from Bangladesh, 14,864 of them were granted citizenship after the LBA was signed. Since these people were already living within Indian territory, only 172 Bangladeshis were thus granted citizenship during this period on individual basis after arriving in India, it was informed.
According to MHA data, 2,935 Pakistanis, 914 Afghans, 113 Sri Lankans and one Myanmar national were granted Indian citizenship during this period.
The information was shared by Rai in reply to a written question from CPI member Kerala K Somaparasad, who also sought to know religion-wise details of those granted citizenship from these countries.
To this, Rai replied: “Records of persons granted citizenship under Section 5 by registration, or under Section 6 by naturalisation of the Citizenship Act, 1955, are maintained as per provisions of Citizenship Act, 1955, and rules made thereunder. These records are not maintained religion-wise.”
During the debate on Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019, Home Minister Shah had said, “This law has provisions to grant citizenship. That is not being deleted. In the past five years, more than 566 Muslims have been granted Indian citizenship.” In subsequent media interviews, Shah put this number at close to 600.