Eight Pakistani Hindus living in Adarsh Nagar in Ajmer were granted Indian citizenship by the district administration on Tuesday. The additional district magistrate of Ajmer Vishal Dave issued citizenship to the eight persons after the Rajasthan home department approved their applications.
The Soni family, who lived in Karachi in Pakistan came to Ajmer 18 years ago on a travel visa and never returned. In the past 18 years, they were living in Ajmer illegally as they were still Pakistani citizens having travelled to India on a Pakistani passport.
But after coming to Ajmer, they decided to settle down in the holy city as most of their relatives were in Ajmer. They faced enormous problems as they had no valid documents for staying in India, but under the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), their applications for citizenship were approved.
Living with dignity
“Now we can live with dignity as Indian citizens. We faced several hardships in our day-to-day lives. Securing admission in schools for our children became difficult and we had to face a day-to-day problem with the police harassing us each day. Thanks to the CAA, we are now proud Indians,” said Neelam Soni.
In the year 2016, the Union home ministry authorised 16 districts in the country to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikh and Buddhist migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who were living in India under Long Term Visa (LTV).
The Union government issued a notification that those living in India before December 31, 2014, will be eligible for citizenship. This came as a relief for a large number of migrants from Pakistan, who apart from Rajasthan started living in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi and Haryana. They faced religious persecution in Pakistan.
However, the largest number of such migrants, over 12,000, were living in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Pali, Jalore and Bikaner districts.
In the past five years, the district administrations have asked about 1151 Pakistani, who had come on travel visas to return to Pakistan.
Since 2017, over 1,500 people have been granted citizenship after the home department approved it. These people were living in India on long term visa.
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