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Allow citizenship to immigrants from Pak., Bangladesh, Afghanistan without question, Meghalaya HC tells Centre

For a hearing: A file photo of members of the West Pakistani Refugee Action Committee staging a protest in New Delhi.  

The Meghalaya High Court has asked the Central government to bring in law to let people of religious and ethnic minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan get citizenship without any cut-off year or any questions asked.

Justice S.R. Sen said: “I am confident that only this government under Shri Narendra Modiji will understand the gravity, and will do the needful as requested above.”

The Modi government had introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Parliament.It seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, and provide citizenship to migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction. Several parties and organisations in the Northeast are protesting against this Bill.

Writ petition

Allowing a writ petition file by Amon Rana, an Army recruit who was denied domicile certificate by the Meghalaya government, Justice Sen said that the Centre should have a law allowing Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos from neighbouring countries to live in India “with full dignity without making any cut-off year and be given citizenship without any question or production of any document”.

In a 37-page judgment, he said that such people “may be allowed to come at any point of time to settle in India and the government may provide rehabilitation properly and declare them citizens of India”. He also said that Hindus and Sikhs residing elsewhere should be automatically considered for citizenship in India.

'Hindus, Sikhs tortured'

“Pakistan declared itself an Islamic country and India, since it was divided on the basis of religion, should have also been declared a Hindu country but it remained a secular country. Even today, in Pakistan, Bangaldesh and Afghanistan, the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Chrstians, Parsis, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos are tortured and they have no place to go and those Hindus who entered India during Partition are still considered foreigners, which in my understanding is illogical, illegal and against the principle of natural justice,” he said.

Justice Sen, however, clarified he was not “against my Muslim brothers and sisters residing in India for generations and abiding [by] India laws”. "They should also be allowed to live peacefully,” he said. Nobody should try to make India another Islamic country, “otherwise it will be a doomsday for India and the world,” he noted.

The judge also found fault with the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. “The present NRC process in my view is defective as many foreigners became Indians and original Indians were left out, which is very sad,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 8:23:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/allow-minorities-into-india-says-hc/article25728781.ece

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