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Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir belong to India, Hindus from there are also Indians, Muslims from there are also Indians: Union Home Minister Amit Shah

The Home Minister was speaking for the first time since implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on March 11.

On Friday, March 15, Union Home Minister Amit Shah emphasised yet again that Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is an integral part of India. Amit Shah also added that the residents of PoK are Indian citizens irrespective of their religion. The Union Minister was speaking during an interaction on the first day of the ongoing India Today Conclave in Delhi.

Amit Shah said, “PoK is part of India. The people of PoK are also Indians, be it Hindu or Muslim. Both Hindus and Muslims of PoK are our own.”

The Home Minister was speaking for the first time since implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on March 11. The CAA will ensure that persecuted minorities from India’s neighbouring countries, who entered India before December 31, 2014, will be fast-tracked for Indian citizenship.

Responding to the criticism of CAA for exclusing Muslims from neighbouring countries, Amit Shah highlighted that the 3 countries included in the act, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, are all Islamic countries and Muslims can’t face persecution on religious grounds there. However, he added that their persecuted minorities need a place to go.

At the India Today conclave, he asked, “At the time of Independence, there were 23 per cent Hindus in Pakistan. Today, they form just 2.7 per cent of the population. Where did they go? What happened to them? I will tell you, minor girls were forced into marriage and faced religious conversion, they faced atrocities. They took refuge in India to save their modesty. Why should we not give them nationality?”

Amit Shah also highlighted that Hindus in Bangladesh decreased from 22 per cent to 10 per cent, and in Afghanistan the number of Sikhs reduced from two lakhs to just 378 now.

He once again emphasised that no Indian is going to lose citizenship after implementation of CAA. “No one will lose citizenship because of CAA. I would ask Muslim brothers and sisters not to listen to the opposition. The opposition is merely doing politics with you again,” he said.

The CAA was passed by Parliament in December 2019 and implemented on March 11 this year.

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