Sikh Refugees From Afghanistan Express Happiness As Govt Invites Applications For Citizenship

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Union Government invited applications from persons belonging to the minority community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, on 28 May.

Several Sikh refugees from Afghanistan living in India for more than five years now have shown happiness and thanked the Government for the decision as per a report in ANI.

The applications are invited under section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2009.

The applications were invited only from the residents of 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.

In 2016, a similar notification provided this benefit to 16 districts of 7 states, which was extended indefinitely in 2018. With the notification on Friday total number of such districts stands at 29 in Nine states.

Amreek Singh, a Sikh refugee who had come from Kabul, Afghanistan and has been living in Ludhiana since 2013, told a reporter, "I had come to India because survival had become very difficult there. We were told to change our religion and get converted to Islam"

Shammi Singh, who came to India in 2012 from Afghanistan, said, "Today morning we got the news. In these gloomy times of COVID-19, the news came as a moment of joy for us. Once we get citizenship, all our problems will be resolved. We will be able to apply for Aadhar card, ration card and other important documents for availing facilities made available by the Central Government to live life with dignity."