NEW DELHI: In tune with the home minister Rajnath Singh’s promise to grant citizenship to minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the home ministry on Wednesday held discussion with 16 districts from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, UP, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra asking them to grant long-term visa and citizenship by August 15, 2016.The move to grant citizenship rights to minority Hindus is in consonance with the ruling BJP’s declared aim of positioning India as a refuge for Hindus fleeing persecution anywhere in the world, much like Israel’s stance towards Jews. In its election manifesto ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had declared India as “a natural home for persecuted Hindus” who “shall be welcome to seek refuge”.
During the meeting with the states, the home ministry asked the authorities to organise special camps from June 13 to July 27 during which officials from central ministry will also attend to address the problem being faced by refugees. The maximum number of camps will be organised in Gujarat, including at Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Kutch, Rajkot and Patan.
According to data available with the MHA, a large number of refugees have also taken shelter in Madhya Pradesh, another BJP ruled state, where camps are likely to be organized in Bhopal and Indore from June 15-17, said officials, adding that they are also considering giving facilities as opening of bank accounts, purchase of dwelling units for self-occupation and self-employment, issue of driving licence, PAN card, Aadhar card to these refuges.
As per the schedule, only one camp will be organised for Uttar Pradesh (Lucknow) and Delhi while Maharashtra will have these camps spread across four cities—Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Thane. In Rajasthan, where BJP government is in power, the camps will be organised in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, added an official.
As first reported by ET on August 5, 2015, the government will soon table a bill to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 that will allow citizenship to Hindus refugees by changing the definition of “illegal migrants” in the law.