Home Ministry says no religion-wise break-up of citizenship data; NCP alleges foul play

Earlier members of the union government had said that 566 Muslims from Pak, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were granted Indian citizenship from 2014 – 2019


In less than three months of Home Minister Amit Shah declaring that 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have been granted Indian citizenship in the last five years, the government on Wednesday told the Parliament that it does not maintain religion-wise data of those to whom Indian citizenship was granted, reported the Indian Express.

It was also mentioned by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman that during 2016 – 18, around 1,595 Pakistan migrants and 391 Afghan Muslims were given Indian citizenship.

Answering a query by CPI member Kerala K Somaprasad, MoS Home Nityanand Rai in the Rajya Sabha said that close to 19,000 nationals from the three countries, and Sri Lanka and Myammar were given citizenship since 2014. He also mentioned that out of the 18,999 who were granted Indian citizenship, 15,000 were from Bangladesh.

Somaprasad had sought to know religion-wise details of those who were granted citizenship. To this Rai replied, “Records of persons granted citizenship under Section 5 by registration, or under Section 6 by naturalisation of the Citizenship Act, 1955, are maintained as per provisions of Citizenship Act, 1955, and rules made thereunder. These records are not maintained religion-wise.”

Why so many immigrants from Bangladesh were granted citizenship was because of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA). In 2015, the Indian Prime Minister entered a final pact for ratification of a 41 year agreement to swap land parcels. 111 border enclaves were transferred to Bangladesh in exchange for 51 that became a part of India. At the time, 14,863 people living in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves inside West Bengal in India, were pronounced Indian citizens.

Keeping the LBA numbers aside, the Indian government granted maximum citizenship to people from Pakistan, followed by those from Afghanistan and Bangladesh. While 14,863 people from Bangladesh had already been granted citizenship post the LBA, only 172 Bangladeshis were granted citizenship on an individual basis after arriving in India.

According to the data given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 2,935 Pakistanis, 914 Afghans, 113 Sri Lankans and one Myanmar national were granted Indian citizenship during this period.

In response to the answer from Rai, NCP leader Nawab Malik claimed that either the Centre was either hiding or misleading the Parliament over the no religion break-up of citizenship granted during 2014 – 2019, reported ANI News.

Speaking to ANI Malik said, “On the floor of the House of the Parliament, the government said they have granted citizenship to 19,000 people during 2014 – 19. The government also explained there is no religion break-up citizenship. Most of them are from Bangladesh. Then on what basis Nirmala Sitharaman and Rajnath Sing have claimed that 600 Muslims have been granted Indian citizenship?”

“If Parliament isn’t misled or the government cannot give the break up to the Parliament, then why are senior minister announcing numbers and break-ups publicly? Either they have misled the country or are hiding something,” he added.


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