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India rejects U.K.'s DNA test plan for finding illegal migrants' nationality

British authorities have suggested that the nationality of document-less illegal migrants suspected to be Indians could be established by matching DNA samples of their family members living in U.K. File

British authorities have suggested that the nationality of document-less illegal migrants suspected to be Indians could be established by matching DNA samples of their family members living in U.K. File   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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Govt. refuses to sign pact citing ‘privacy issues’

India has rejected a proposal of the United Kingdom to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of illegal migrants living there, citing “privacy issues”.

Although a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on return of illegal migrants was initialled, after the due approval of the Union Cabinet in January, by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju while leading a delegation to the U.K the same month, India refused to sign the final pact during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to England in April.

As per the original MoU, security agencies in India were to verify the antecedents of illegal migrants without documents in the U.K. within 72 days and those with documents within 15 days. If no report was given within the stipulated time frame, the illegal migrant would be deported automatically.

The agreement was put on indefinite hold after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval conveyed that the 15-day limit was unworkable.

Unethical, says India

“In one of the meetings, the U.K. authorities suggested that the nationality of document-less illegal migrants suspected to be Indians could be established by matching DNA samples of their family members living here. We raised objections, saying this was a breach of privacy and unethical. How do we know that the document-less person is an Indian,” said a senior Home Ministry official who attended the meeting.

According to the British government’s estimates, there are around 1,00,000 Indians overstaying their visa in the U.K.

India has contested this, saying that as per their estimate, the number will not be more than 2,000.

Post April, at least two high-level delegations from the U.K. have raised the issue with India.

During her first visit to India on November 7, 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. would consider an improved visa deal “if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the U.K.”

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 7:20:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-rejects-uk-proposal-on-dna-tests-for-illegal-migrants/article24682854.ece

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