Hyderabad: Amidst discussions around the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Ministry of Home Affairs has informed that 809 migrants from Pakistan were granted Indian citizenship last year. Interestingly, the ministry denied the claims that they had recorded the religion of the migrants from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and that the records of persons granted Indian citizenship “are maintained as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and rules made thereunder.”
The data, which was revealed in response to a Lok Sabha question, further showed that the number of migrants from Pakistan has increased over the years from 2015. Moreover, the number of migrants from Pakistan has almost doubled from 450 in 2018 to 809 in 2019. From 2015 to 2019, India has granted citizenship to 2,668 migrants from Pakistan.
More than 15,000 Bangladeshi migrants given Indian citizenship since 2015.
However, the number of migrants granted citizenship from Afghanistan and Bangladesh shows a different trend. In the case of Bangladesh, 15,012 migrants were given Indian citizenship from 2015 to 2019. The response showed that “after signing of Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement in 2015, 53 enclaves of Bangladesh were included in Indian Territory. Under Section 7 of The Citizenship Act, 1955, 14,864 Bangladeshi nationals residing in these enclaves were granted Indian Citizenship.” In the case of Afghanistan, the number of migrants has decreased from 234 in 2015 to 40 in 2019.
The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 has been a subject of controversy after it sought to give citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, who had entered India on or before 31 December 2014. The Act leaves out Muslim migrants from these countries from gaining Indian citizenship, following which several protests broke out in many parts of the country.
Mohan Guruswamy, economist and the former financial advisor said, “In the context of the new Citizenship Amendment Act, the government is, without doubt, trying to bring in Hindu refugees, put them on a different footing. The new category of religion has been introduced into the old Citizenship Act, solely for this purpose. So, they will have granted citizenship to mostly Hindu migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh, but without mentioning the religion of the migrants in the Lok Sabha response.”