The Modi government has invited applications from 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 to grant them Indian citizenship.
According to the reports, 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.
India invites Citizenship Application from minority Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and residing in 13 districts in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab to apply for Indian citizenship. pic.twitter.com/6yfWdvPHKD— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) May 28, 2021
“In exercise of powers conferred under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the central government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it for registration as a citizen of India under Section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act 1955 in respect of any person belonging to the minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, residing in the districts mentioned and the states mentioned below….,” the home ministry notification said.
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.
Citizenship to be granted under naturalisation laws
It is important to mention that only those people who are currently living in the districts of Morbi, Rajkot, Patan and Vadodara of Gujarat, Durg and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab, are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
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.
Issuing the notification, the Home Ministry said the verification of the application is done simultaneously by the collector or secretary (Home) of Haryana and Punjab at both the district level and the state level, which will be made accessible simultaneously to the Centre on an online portal.
“The collector or the secretary, as the case may be, makes such inquiry as he considers necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant and for that purpose forwards the application online to such agencies for verification and comments as may be required for completing such an inquiry and the instructions issued by the Centre from time-to-time in this regard shall be strictly complied with by state or union territory and district concerned,” the notification said.
According to the notification, the collector or the secretary will grant him the citizenship of India by registration or naturalisation and issue a certificate of registration or naturalisation if he/she is satisfied with the suitability of the applicant. These records will be maintained both online and in the physical register, according to the rules.
“This order shall come into force on the date of its publication in the official gazette and shall remain valid until further orders,” the notification said.