While the Congress has harped on the word “discriminatory”, after the NDA government amended the citizenship law, it has conveniently not spoken about a law that made in 2010 concerning male Muslims from Pakistan in Kerala.
The Opposition led by the Congress has gone on a rampage questioning the newly amended citizenship law, which only aims at providing relief to the religiously persecuted minority.
One of the key allegations by the Congress and the rest of the Opposition is that it is discriminatory in nature as the law does not offer citizenship to the Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, where they are in majority.
Now, this is the same Congress which had passed a legislation in 2010, in which concession was given to Pakistani Muslim men living in Kerala.
The legislation by the Congress:
It was in the year 2010 that new rules on Long Term Visas were framed by the Congress. This rule was titled, “Grant of LTV to male Muslim Community members from Kerala.” It states, “following class of persons have been exempted from the provisions of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 by Notification S.O. No.1115 (E) dated 15.5.2010 issued by the Central Government.”
“Male Muslim community member being originally Indian citizen went to Pakistan after partition leaving behind family in India and returned back to India and settled in the State of Kerala on a valid passport issued by the Government of Pakistan which has either been expired or lost and – (i) such person has gone to Pakistan between the period of 15th August 1947 and 31st December 1965; (ii) such person should not have married while in Pakistan; (iii) such person should not have acquired any immovable property in Pakistan; (iv) such person, while going to Pakistan, should have left behind family members who are Indian citizens; (v) such person should have no intention whatsoever of returning to Pakistan; (vi) such person should have any adverse report from the police and security agencies.”
State Governments / UT Administrations may consider cases for extension of the LTV of such persons covered under the Notification S.O. no. 1115(E) dated 15.5.2010 under their delegated powers without insisting on validity of passports.
The above-mentioned legislation discriminates on two counts. First and foremost, it applies only to the Muslims. Secondly, it only applies to the men. Another aspect that needs to be taken into account is that is specific only to male Muslims of Kerala.
The long and short of this discriminatory law is that it gives the state government the power to consider the extension of LTV of Muslim men from Pakistan who settled in Kerala. There would be no insistence on the validity of the passports under this law.
The Press Information Bureau on June 10, 2010 issued a note speaking about this issue. The note read, “in addition to above mentioned four categories of Pak nationals, grant of LTV is also being considered in the case of male Muslim community members being originally Indian citizen who went to Pakistan after partition leaving behind family in India and returned back to India on a valid passport issued by the Government of Pakistan and settled in the state of Kerala so that they can acquire Indian Citizenship.
Such Pak nationals were unable to extend the validity period of their passports on account of reasons such as:
Pakistan High Commission’s refusal to extend the validity of passport in the absence of Computerised National Identity Card. Pakistan is issuing Computerised National identity Cards to their nationals and extends validity of Passports in respect of only those Pak nationals who possess the National Identity Card.
Poor economic conditions of the Pak nationals.
The other categories:
The order also includes other categories as well. It said that the matter was examined in consultation with the MEA and Law Ministry. It was decided to grant exemption to such Pakistan nationals from the provisions of Rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920.
Accordingly, an order to this effect has been notified on May 15, 2010. It says the following categories are also covered in the order:
Member of minority communities in Pakistan (Hindus & Sikhs)
Pak women married to Indian nationals and staying in India.
Indian women married to Pak nationals and returning due to widowhood/divorce and having no male member to support them in Pakistan and
Cases involving extreme compassion.
The Congress has spoken about the new law passed by the NDA government. The law was passed by both Houses of Parliament. However, the Congress has been raising the point that it is discriminatory in nature.
There has been a sustained attempt to drive across a narrative that it is discriminatory in nature as the law does not mention Muslims in it. The law says that the process of citizenship would be made easy for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The law does not mention the Muslims because they are in majority in these countries and they also do not fall under the category of religiously persecuted. Now if one looks at the law passed during the UPA regime in 2010, the specific mentioning of Male Muslim from Pakistan in Kerala sounds extremely discriminatory in nature.
Further one must also note that Kerala is facing a severe problem of radicalisation. Several Intelligence Bureau officials and police officers that MyNation spoke with say the rise of radicalisation is clearly related to the minority appeasement in Kerala. As a result of this, several officers did not go after the radical Muslim elements due to the fear of being tripped over by those in power and who have used the minority card to come to power.
Last Updated 12:04 PM IST