Amidst the countrywide protests sweep India against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, Indian minister on Sunday claimed that the country has given citizenship to 2,838 Pakistani refugees in the past six years.
BJP’s leader and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was quoted as saying, “in the last six years, as many as 2838 Pakistani refugees, 914 Afghan refugees, 172 Bangladeshi refugees including Muslims have been given Indian citizenship.”
At a ‘Programme on Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019’ in Chennai, she said, “From 1964 to 2008, more than 4,00,000 Tamils [from Sri Lanka] have been given Indian citizenship”.
She further said, “The initiative is the Indian government’s attempt to gather support for the discriminatory legislation” adding that “till 2014 some 566 Muslims had migrated to India from Bangladesh and Afghanistan”.
The minister claimed the incumbent Indian government had allowed close to 1,595 nationalities to Pakistani migrants and 391 to Muslims from Afghanistan between 2016-2018.
“It was also during the same period in 2016, that Adnan Sami was given Indian citizenship,” said the Indian minister. “This is an example.”
Sitharaman said that the migrants from Bangladesh are still living in various camps across India and it has been 50-60 years have passed .
“If you visit these camps, your heart will cry” said the minister, “the situation is the same with Sri Lankan refugees who continue to live in camps. They’re barred from getting basic facilities”.
It is pertinent to mention here, protests in India after implementation of the controversial citizenship law have become a major challenge for the Modi government.
The law offers fast-track citizenship to non-Muslim nationals from three neighbouring countries, is the latest strategy introduced by Modi-led BJP government that critics accuse of marginalising Muslims in the Hindu-majority nation.