Indian government condemned for misplaced priority after MHA invites applications for citizenship from non-Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh


The Indian government is facing widespread condemnation for its misplaced priority after a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs invited applications for citizenship from non-Muslim refugees hailing from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh. The critics of the government wasted no time in questioning the MHA’s priority even in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

Quoting the notification from the MHA, news agency PTI reported, “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….”

Those invited to submit applications for Indian citizenship are primarily non-Muslims namely Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and residing in 13 districts in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab.

The Narendra Modi government had passed the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019, triggering nationwide protests from Muslims, who feared that the move was aimed at rendering them stateless. The protests had to stop in view of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

India is currently going through a deadly second wave of pandemic, which has left lakhs of people dead. According to an estimate by the New York Times, the death toll in the current wave of the pandemic in India could be in excess of 40 lakhs.

Angered by the Indian government’s preference to provide citizenship to foreigners through questionable legislation over vaccinating its citizens, netizens took to Twitter to register their outrage.

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