Days after enactment of newly amended Citizenship Act, eight Pakistani refugees, who were living in Kota, Rajasthan since 2000, have been given Indian citizenship on December 30 (Monday). All refugees had come from Sindh in Pakistan fleeing religious persecution. They all received certificates from the district collector of Kota.
Though the Congress government led by CM Ashok Gehlot had refused to implement CAA and NRC in the state of Rajasthan it is being believed that since most of the Hindu migrants in Pakistan have connections in Rajasthan, there is immense pressure being put on the Chief Minister by the people waiting to get the Indian citizenship to consider the implementation of the Act in the state.
Though the local administration has called it a routine process of granting citizenship, this pressure from the Hindu migrants has probably compelled the Rajasthan government to recognise the newly introduced Act.
Expressing their happiness, the Hindu immigrants said that they’re very happy about it. “We came here because our families are already here. We are very thankful to India for giving us citizenship. I am so happy and I have no words to express it,” said one of them.
Another one said, “We have been living here since 20-25 years. We have never faced any problems here. And all the Sindhis living there want to come to India. We are very happy here. We have not faced any kind of problem here until now.” He further said that they were supported by everyone even before they became citizens of India.
They also said that Sindh is not a place where minorities can stay and that they had no other option to flee there and come to India. They expressed relief about the fact that now they can lead lives according to the Indian constitution as an Indian citizen.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament earlier this month and became an Act with Presidential assent on December 12.
The new Act seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014. It applies to those who were forced to seek shelter in India due to persecution on the ground of religion. It aims to protect such people from proceedings of illegal migration. The cut-off date for citizenship is December 31, 2014, which means the applicant should have entered India on or before that date.