The special powers under the “grant of certificate of naturalization under Section 6 of the Citizenship Act” in December 2016 were delegated to three district collectors–Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. While the DM of rest cities have to forward the case to the home department of Rajasthan. It was aimed to provide religious minorities—Hindus, Sikhs, Janis, Parsis and Christians naturalized citizenship on certain grounds. It grounds includes that an applicant should have a long term visa, grandparents or parents born in undivided India, either male or female married to an Indian national etc.
State which has highest number of migrants showed up only 56 Indian citizenship awards—- 43 living in Jaipur and 13 in Jodhpur has disappointed hundreds of applicants living from close to two decades. Hindu Singh Soda, president of Seemanth Lok Sangathan, a body working for the welfare of Pak Hindus migrants, says that if the administration goes by this speed 90% of the migrants will be awarded citizenship after they have lived their life. “Delegating special powers is meant to save these migrants from the pain and suffering has actually failed to provide any respite to these naturalized citizens of mother India. The administration has to complete the process a stipulated time despite the deliver dismal result,” said Soda.
The district collectors say that process of granting citizenship involves several layers of administrative scrutiny and requires collaboration of several agencies. Ravi Surpur, district collector of Jodhpur which probably has highest number of migrants from Pakistan in the country, says, “Few months’ back the process has been simplified which will help us in expediting the applications. The matter is also sub judice and under the monitoring of the Jodhpur bench of Rajasthan High Court.”
A district collector requesting anonymity explains that challenges they are facing in processing the applications. “I agree that it is a sensitive issue and but it is also sensitive in terms of internal security. Here we have to work in close collaboration with the intelligence agencies and practically collector action is based on the multi-layer intelligence agencies feedback,” said a district collector.
The fast changing address of the migrants is posing a challenge for the agencies to interview them and to cross check the credentials in person. “Our hands have tied for those who have crossed illegally. Majority of the applications have not moved an inch due to the lack of documents,” said the collector requesting anonymity. The powers have been extended to district collectors in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.
The home department has conducted a video conferencing with the district collectors to review the work carried in regard to granding citizenship to the minorities of Pakisthan, Bangladesgh and Afganistan on Tuesday. The officials have given strict directions to the collectors to expidite the matter by giving priority to the immigrants from Pakisthan came in Indian before December 30, 2009.
Source : timesofindia