Friday, 3 June 2016
Hindus from Pakistan, Bangladesh will get to claim Indian citizenship
New Delhi: In a move that is as much political as it is humanitarian, the home ministry is ready with draft amendments to citizenship law that will exempt minority citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh who have come to India out of fear of religious prosecution from being tagged as "illegal migrants".The changes to theCitizenship Act, 1955, will give a legal path to the refugees to remain in India and even claim citizenship, a move in tune with the Modi government's unambiguous desire to be seen as a protector of Hindus facing adverse circumstances in these countries.The move stands to benefit nearly 2 lakh Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh who often complain they are treated as "second-class citizens" and are vulnerable to violence. They have also often found themselves at the receiving end of blasphemy laws.The decision to come to the aid of Hindu minorities, even while discouraging Muslim migrants driven by economic conditions from Bangladesh as "outsiders", marks the government's decision to consciously differentiate between types of migrants even if this attracts criticism of working to a Hindutva agenda.
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