800 Pakistani Hindus returned home as they couldn’t get Indian citizenship, says Advocacy Group
NEW DELHI, MAY 9: Around 800 Pakistani Hindus in Rajasthan who travelled to India in the hope that they would get citizenship on the basis of religious persecution had to return back to Pakistan in 2021.
This is according to Seemant Lok Sangathan (SLS), a group that advocates for the rights of Pakistani minority migrants in India.
A lot of these people had to return to Pakistan after they came to know that there had been little to no progress being made in their citizenship application.
Hindu Singh Sodha, the president of the SLS, said that the returnees are used by Pakistani agencies to defame India and added that they are paraded before the media and are forced to say that they were ill-treated in India.
Meanwhile, an online citizenship application process was initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) back in 2018.
It also made 16 Collectors in 7 States accept online applications to grant citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jain and Buddhists from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Earlier in May 2021, the MHA authorized 13 more District Collectors in 5 States ~ Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab ~ to grant citizenship certificates to applicants belonging to the 6 communities under Section 5 (Registration) and Section 6 (Naturalisation) of Citizenship Act, 1955. The portal does not accept Pakistani passports that have expired despite the fact that the entire process is online. As a result, the people seeking refuge have been compelled to rush to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to renew their expired passports for a hefty sum.
“If it is a family of 10, then they end up spending more than ?1 lakh at the Pakistan High Commission to get the passports renewed. These people come to India amid great financial hardships and to cough up such a high amount of money is not feasible”, Singh, who is based in Jodhpur, said.
Singh also went on to say that applicants have to submit documents to Collectors in the physical mode apart from applying online and he added that it is an additional burden.
A Home Ministry official said they were examining the online system. (Agencies)