Hindu and Sikh asylum seekers from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who want to move to India will be given Indian citizenship. The home ministry came up with this proposal, after discussing with district magistrates to grant citizenship to those who seek refuge in the country from religious persecution.
The ministry will seek the final nod of the monsoon session of Parliament, which will start from July 18 to implement the proposal.
Once the Cabinet grants its approval, the government can issue an executive order and ease norms for these immigrants, a senior official said to The Economic Times on the condition of anonymity.
The new proposal, which in many ways resembles to the “law of return” in Israel, aims at giving protection for minority communities in the neighbouring countries. It will ease procedures for them to buy property, opening bank accounts and getting permanent account number and Aadhar card.
The proposal is an attempt to fulfill a promise made by BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha election in which the party manifesto calls the country “a natural home for persecuted Hindus”.
Officials also said that the immigrants will be given a reduction of fees for registration as Indian citizen from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 100. Along with it, the new proposal will also allow them to open bank accounts without the prior approval of RBI.
For long-term visa holders among them, the ministry gives permission to move within the states they stay, while those who stay in National Capital Region (NCR), will be allowed to move within it.
The new proposal has not mentioned about other religious minorities seeking asylum in India like Rohingyan Muslims, who sought refuge in the country facing the same “religious persecution” from Myanmar.
There are around 2.5 lakh Hindu and sikh immigrants in India, in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
Earlier In June 8, the home ministry had held a special sitting with 16 districts in these states, requesting them to grant long-term-visa and citizenship to Hindu migrants by august 15, 2016.
The home ministry in the meeting had also appealed these district authorities to conduct special camps from June 13 to July 27, including central ministry officials in which the issues of migrants would be discussed in detail.
According to political analysts, the new proposal is created like the “Law of Return” was designed in Israel, which allows anyone of Jewish heritage to return to Israel as an “oleh” (immigrant). The law enacted by Israel’s unicameral parliament — the Knesset — in 1950 allows all Jews across the globe to attain an Israeli passport very easily.