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Government of India invites applications for citizenship from non-Muslim refugees

NEW DELHI: The Government of India on Friday invited non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who reside in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Punjab to apply for Indian citizenship. Citizenship will be granted to non-Muslim persecuted minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

As the Centre has not yet framed the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, the order has been issued under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship Rules, 2009. When the CAA was enacted, there were massive protests across the country, even riots in the national capital of Delhi. Parliament amended the Citizenship Act, granting citizenship to illegal immigrants from all communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, except Muslims.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the Central Government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it, for registration as a citizen of India under section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6, of the Citizenship Act, 1955, in respect of any person belonging to minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians… shall also be exercisable by the Collector, within whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinarily resident,” the notification said.

Those who currently reside in the districts of Morbi, Rajkot, Patan, and Vadodara in Gujarat, Durg and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer, and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Faridabad in Haryana, and Jalandhar in Punjab are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.  

Applications for registration as citizen of India or grant of certificate of naturalisation as citizen of India must be submitted online. The notification states that the verification of the application is done simultaneously by the Collector or the Secretary.

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