Claims of inordinate number of citizenship granted by the BJP government have alarmed a teeming Hindu Pakistan migrant population in Rajasthan as they allege none of the citizenships have landed in their kitty.
A dominant pressure group, Seemant Lok Sangathan that has been fighting for citizenship rights of an endless stream of displaced Hindu Pakistan population into the desert state, punched holes in the Home Ministry’s claims as stated by several English dailies recently that point at 4230 Hindus and Sikhs granted citizenship.
The body cited an RTI reply that shows only 281 Afghan and 289 Pakistan migrants from 2014 to March 2015 were given the citizenship under the new government.
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“Even as the source-based news reports have been doing the rounds hailing the Modi government for delivering their promise, the claims are absolutely baseless and it has affected thousands of migrants awaiting citizenship who feel left out. Not only are the figures floated by the Home Ministry sources far from the truth but way off the mark,” alleged Hindu Singh Sodha, president of the organization.
The RTI reply in response to a query filed by Seemant Lok Sangathan states that 248 and 33 Afghan nationals were granted citizenship in 2014 and till March 9, 2015 respectively while another 267 and 22 Pakistan nationals were given Indian citizenship in the two years. For Pakistan Hindus it adds up to 289 while for Afghans it sums up to 281.
The RTI reply instead shows that the former UPA government approved more number of citizenship certificates with 356 and 301 Pak Hindus getting the status in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
“On March 4, 2015 MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on the floor of Parliament had said that from 2011 to February 2015 (in last 5 years) the citizenship certificates were issued to a total of 1706 Pakistan and Afghanistan nationals. This corroborates that the exaggerated number of granting citizenship to Pak and Afghan Hindus in this BJP government (in last one year) is groundless. Some reports state that the figure stands for citizenship granted by the end of April, which too is false, as the consultation camps held by the Home Ministry were underway till April,” Sodha added. “Rajasthan has one of the highest number of applicants seeking Indian citizenship as a regular flow of persecuted Pak Hindu migrants stream in across the Indo-Pak border. If this state has no beneficiaries, then where have all the citizenship certificates gone?”
Over the past few years, an endless stream of Pak Hindu migrants have taken the Thar Express to cross over the border prompting the state government and human rights groups to set up refugee camps in Jodhpur and western Rajasthan to accommodate the influx. The migrants have arrived on tourist visas and refused to go back to Pakistan citing religious persecution.