NEW DELHI: A Bill getting being prepared to make amendments in the Constitution for victims of religious persecution from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
According to The Hindu, the Indian Union Home Ministry will be amending the Citizenship Act, 1955, so as to grant citizenship to undocumented migrants who have fled religious persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh. These migrants which will be granted Indian citizenship will not just include Hindus but also Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians, Sikhs and Jains.
The media house also claimed that some of the important Home Ministry sources have affirmed that drafting of a Bill is in progress to make necessary amendments in the Act along with shaping changes to some provisions in the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, and the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950. These amendments have been reviewed by the Indian Law Ministry as well.
The Hindu even reports a top official saying: “This is an idea floated right after the Modi government came to power, but it was found that many people who fled into India fearing religious persecution do not have valid documents, or have their visas expired. Therefore, these people are illegal migrants and ineligible for citizenship.”
So far, quite a few high-level meetings have been held by the Ministry with the Law Minister, the Law Secretary and the Home Secretary to find a counter-measure to the situation.
The Hindu also reported another source saying: “Basically, two changes need to be made to the Passport Act, 1920, and Passport Rules, 1950, to exempt people who fled religious persecution from Pakistan or Bangladesh from being termed illegal migrants and offer them long-term visas while their case for citizenship is being considered.”