As many as 83 Hindus hailing from Pakistan, who had migrated to Ahmedabad years ago, were awarded Indian citizenship by the district authorities.
As many as 83 Hindus hailing from Pakistan, who had migrated to the city years ago, were awarded Indian citizenship by the district authorities here Friday. At a camp organised at the District Collectorate, Collector Vikrant Pandey and local MLA Balram Thawani handed over the certificates of Indian citizenship, issued in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, to these 83 applicants.
Most of the applicants were either Sindhis or from Maheshwari community. Pandey said prior to this camp, over 400 people were given Indian citizenship by the Ahmedabad Collectorate, making it a leader among all the districts in the country in awarding such citizenship since the new arrangement came into effect two years ago. “In 2016, the Centre had decentralised the process of issuing citizenship to the members of minority communities, such as Hindus and Sikhs, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Today, 83 applicants from Pakistan became Indian citizens,” he told reporters.
Through a gazette notification issued in December 2016, the district collectors of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Kutch in Gujarat were given powers to confer Indian citizenship to the applicants from these communities living in Gujarat, he said. Pandey added that the district administration was trying its best to ensure that such applicants get the citizenship as early as possible.
“Around 280 applications, received only this year, are still under consideration. We have already cleared all pending applications of previous years. We will try to make sure that no one remains in waiting list for long,” said Pandey.
Talking to reporters, some of the applicants shared their experiences in Pakistan, which forced them to leave behind their businesses and loved ones and come to India. “I came here seven years back. I left Pakistan because Hindus are harassed and humiliated there. We are asked by Muslims to leave the country for being Hindus. Our women and daughters were also not safe there,” said Deepak Kishanchand, who used to live in Hyderabad city of Sindh province.