800 Pakistani Hindus left India after failing to get citizenship, says advocacy group

Around 800 Pakistani Hindus in Rajasthan, who came to India seeking citizenship on the basis of religious persecution, returned to the neighbouring country in 2021, according to Seemant Lok Sangathan (SLS), a group that advocates for the rights of Pakistani minority migrants in India. Many of them returned to Pakistan after they found that there had been no progress in their citizenship application.

“Once they return, they are used by Pakistani agencies to defame India. They are paraded before the media and made to say that they were ill-treated here,” Hindu Singh Sodha, president, SLS, said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) initiated an online citizenship application process in 2018. It also made 16 Collectors in seven States accept online applications to grant citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jain and Buddhists from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

In May 2021, the MHA empowered 13 more District Collectors in five States — Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab — to grant citizenship certificates to applicants belonging to the six communities under Section 5 (registration) and Section 6 (naturalisation) of Citizenship Act, 1955.