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Sikh refugees from Afghanistan express happiness after Modi government invites applications for Indian citizenship

Applications are open for persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists residing in 13 districts in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Punjab.

Hours after the Modi government invited applications from non-Muslim refugees for granting them Indian citizenship, Sikh refugees from Afghanistan have expressed their happiness over the decision.

While speaking to ANI, a persecuted Sikh by the name of Amrik Singh said, “I came here from Kabul (Afghanistan) in 2013. We were being forced to convert to Islam. We thank the govt for this decision.” Singh currently resides in the Ludhiana district of Punjab. The elated Afghan Sikh refugee, who has been living in India for the past 8 years, showed his passport to the media.

It must be mentioned that the applications are open for persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Jains, and Buddhists belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and residing in 13 districts in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Punjab.

The Union Home Ministry issued a notification asking people belonging to six persecuted communities to apply for a certificate of naturalisation under the Citizenship Act 1955 and the citizenship rules framed under the law in 2009. Even though the centre passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019 to grant citizenship to these persecuted non-Muslim minorities belonging to three neighbouring countries, the centre is yet to frame the rules. The fresh order is in no way connected to the Citizenship Amendment Act enacted in 2019.

The notification said that the application for registration as a citizen of India through naturalisation under the said rules (Citizenship Rules, 2009) would be made by the applicant online. Under naturalisation rules, a person can acquire citizenship by naturalisation if he/she is ordinarily resident of India for 12 years and fulfils all qualifications in the third schedule of the Citizenship Act.

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