New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday invited applications from non-Muslims including Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Jain and Buddhist belonging to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who are residing in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Haryana to apply for Indian citizenship. The MHA's notification directed the immediate implementation of the order under the Citizenship Act 1955 and Rules framed under the law in 2009.

However, the MHA clarified that the latest notification is not related to the Citizenship Amendment Act enacted in 2019 and asserted that the rules under the CAA are yet to be framed. The enactment of CAA triggered widespread protests across the country with Delhi's Shaheen Bagh emerging as the epicentre of the anti-CAA protest. The protest even led to riots in the national capital in early 2020.

"In exercise of powers conferred under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955), the central government hereby directs that powers exercisable by it for registration as citizen of India under Section 5, or for grant of certificate of naturalisation under section 6 of the Citizenship Act 1955 in respect of any person belonging to minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, residing in the districts mentioned and the states mentioned below....," the notification said.

People who are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship are those currently living in the districts of Morbi, Rajkot, Patan and Vadodara of Gujarat, Durg and Balodabazar in Chhattisgarh, Jalore, Udaipur, Pali, Barmer and Sirohi in Rajasthan, Faridabad in Haryana and Jalandhar in Punjab.

"The application for registration as citizen of India or grant of certificate of naturalisation as citizen of India under the said rules (Citizenship Rules, 2009) shall be made by the applicant online," the notification said.

The home ministry said the verification of the application is done simultaneously by collector or secretary (Home) of Haryana and Punjab as the case may be, at the district-level and the state-level and the application and the reports thereon shall be made accessible simultaneously to the Centre on online portal.

The collector or the secretary, as the case may be, makes such inquiry as he considers necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant and for that purpose forwards the application online to such agencies for verification and comments as may be required for completing such an inquiry and the instructions issued by the Centre from time-to-time in this regard shall be strictly complied with by state or union territory and district concerned, it said.

The collector or the secretary on being satisfied with the suitability of the applicant, will grant him the citizenship of India by registration or naturalisation and issue a certificate of registration or naturalisation, as the case may be, duly printed from the online portal and signed by the collector or the secretary in the form as prescribed in the said rules, the notification said.

The collector or the secretary shall maintain an online as well as physical register, in accordance with the said rules, containing the details of the person registered or naturalised as a citizen of India and furnish a copy thereof to the central government within seven days of such registration or naturalisation, it said.

(With PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan