National

919 Pak Hindus in Rajasthan eligible for citizenship

Pakistani Hindus, who came to India in 2004, are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship as they had over-stayed after the expiry of their visas and have been found fit to apply for Indian citizenship after having stayed in India for seven years. Additional magistrate (city) of Jodhpur Rajendra Rathore said, “We have asked them to follow the procedure and if they fulfil the conditions, including fees, they will be given citizenship”.  But a major cause for concern of Seemant Lok Sangathan, which champions the cause of these migrants, is that the application fee has been raised from Rs. 100-2,200 to Rs. 3,000-20,00. Calling them “an exploited minority”, the SLS president said it was difficult for them to manage the sum. He added that it’s wrong to exclude some people on account of their poverty. Government statements say 764 Pakistani nationals have been granted citizenship during three (2009-12) years. The government said they process the applications as expeditiously as possible.

On the other hand, following reports in Indian media of Hindu pilgrims not returning to Pakistan, the National Assembly of Pakistan said in a statement that 200 Hindu families have already returned and that the Pakistan government considers the Indian media reports a part of a conspiracy. With three million Hindus in Pakistan and the Pakistan Hindu Council pegging the number at seven million, they are the biggest minority in Pakistan.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2012 on page no. 6

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