Modi Govt. Plans To Grant Indian Citizenship To Hindu Refugees By Independence Day

22/06/2016 1:17 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
TAUSEEF MUSTAFA via Getty Images
TO GO WITH AFP STORY: India-Pakistan-Kashmir-refugees by Parvaiz BUKHARI In this photograph taken on March 2, 2015, Hindu refugee from West Pakistan, Mangu Ram (82) sits inside his concrete shanty in Surej Chak, on the outskirts of Jammu. Ram, 82, arrived in Surej Chak, a barren area on the banks of Tawi, as a teenage boy from Pakistani Punjab along with thousands of Hindu families fleeing religious violence unleashed by the Partition of British India in 1947. Surej Chak has evolved into one of the many slum settlements spread in Hindu dominated areas of Jammu for the migrant families, known as West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs) who live in abject poverty and mostly marry among themselves because of their low economic status. AFP PHOTO / Tauseef MUSTAFA (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- The Modi government is working towards granting Indian citizenship to hundreds of Hindu refugees from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan by Independence Day, this year.

Thousands of Hindus, who are a religious minority in these countries, have poured into India for various reasons including poverty and persecution. Many of them live in squalid refugees camps scattered around the country. While campaigning for the 2014 national election, the Bharatiya Janata Party promised that Hindus fleeing from any country would find a home in India.

The Telegraph reported today that the Home Ministry is introducing changes in the Citizenship Act, 1955, which would make it possible to grant citizenship to Hindus, and make good on the BJP's promise.

"We have made several changes in the proposed bill to ensure the persecuted refugees get Indian citizenship without any difficulty," a Home Ministry source told The Telegraph.

"The bill is likely to be tabled in the Monsoon Session as the government wants to complete the process before Independence Day," the source told the newspaper.

It is estimated that over two lakh Hindu refugees are living in India.

“When some Bangladeshis infiltrate, the contractors of vote-bank politics lap them up, break all rules ... but those refugees from Pakistan who come here only for saying Bharat Mata ki Jai ... nobody cares about them. Shouldn’t they get rights? Shouldn’t they get the love of Mother India?" Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then BJP's prime ministerial candidate, said in April 2014.

"It will be the responsibility of the government in Delhi to end the injustice being done to you all these years," he said.

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