Eight Hindu refugees from Pak get citizenship in Raj

Last Updated 31 December 2019, 15:20 IST

Amid a nationwide stir over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), eight Hindu refugees from Sindh in Pakistan were granted Indian citizenship through a certificate given by the District Collector of Kota.

District Collector, Kota, Om Kasera handed over documents to the newly inducted citizens under 1955 section 5(1) Indian Citizenship Act. According to the administration, the group came to Kota in 2000 from Sindh district of Pakistan claiming religious persecution and completed close to 20 years of stay.

The local administration called it a routine process of granting citizenship. According to Om Prakash Kasera, district collector, Kota, 15 refugees from Pakistan had applied for Indian citizenship, and eight were granted citizenship under the provision of the existing citizenship acts. They had applied for citizenship even before the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act).

The Sindhi Hindus who got citizenship include Gurudas Mal (55), Vidhya Kumari (52), Ail mal (43), Sushilan Bai (48), Rukmani (70), Naresh Kumar Bhojwani (46), Sewak (48) and Kaushlan Bai (52).

"I was married in Kota and living here with family from the last two decades. I was deprived of all rights. I was facing problems due to lack of Aadhar and other legal documents. But now after getting citizenship, I can take benefit of all rights available to a citizen', Vidhya Kumari, a housewife who originally hails from  Shikarpura in Pakistan and presently married in Kota told DH.

Another recipient of citizenship Naresh Kumar Bhojwani said, "I was waiting for this day for two decades."

Meanwhile, 30,000 immigrants from Pakistan living in Rajasthan are celebrating the new Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 which has brought lost hopes back to them. As per the CAA, around 12,000 immigrants are eligible for the citizenship with immediate effect.

Hindu Singh Sodha, president of Seemant Lok Sangthan, an organisational working for citizenship to Hindu immigrants from Pakistan told DH, "This has been one of our long-standing demands and we are thankful to the government for amending the Citizenship Act, 1955, through the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019."

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had said that CAA and NRC would not be implemented in the state. However, the Centre has clarified that citizenship is an issue concerning the Centre, not the states.

(Published 31 December 2019, 14:59 IST)

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