The Centre is planning to award Hindu refugees from Pakistan,Bangladesh and Afghanistan Indian citizenship by August 15, 2017. To facilitate this, the Centre has asked for certain amendments in the Citizenship Act, 1955.

 

The amendments will ensure that the Hindu refugees will be able to easily stake a claim for Indian citizenship, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday. The report emphasised that the changes in the Citizenship Act, 1955 is expected to come in effect before August 15 to ensure that the Modi government keeps its 2014 election manifesto promise.

 

In 2014, Modi had promised to ensure that 'Hindus' from 'any country' in the world will have a place in India.

 

"We have made several changes in the proposed bill to ensure the persecuted refugees get Indian citizenship without any difficulty. The bill is likely to be tabled in the monsoon session as the government wants to complete the process before Independence Day," a home ministry official attached to the foreigners' division told The Telegraph.

 

Sources said that the proposed amendments in the Citizenship Act, 1955 would change the definition of 'illegal migrants'. It will also do away with the need of a renunciation certificate. As per Indian laws, to become an Indian citizen one needs to have a renunciation certificate from their home country.

 

Though the exact number of minority refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan living in India is unknown, according to rough official estimates it is speculated that there are around two lakh such people, mostly Hindus and Sikhs.

 

According to The Indian Express, there are around 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Kutch, Bhopal, Indore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Delhi and Lucknow.