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Centre�s clarification on cititizenship

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 26 - The Centre on Tuesday clarified that it has so far issued two notifications safeguarding the Bangladeshi Hindu migrants, who have fled the neighbouring country owing to religious persecution.

Government of India has issued two notifications on September 7, 2015 under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946 regularising the entry and stay of persons belonging to minority communities, including, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians in Bangladesh, who have entered into India on or before December 31, 2014, without valid documents or with valid documents but the validity of any of such documents has expired, said Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju in a Lok Sabha reply.

Such persons can apply for Long Term Visa (LTV) for their continued stay in India. An online application form for this purpose has already been launched, Rijiju added.

The Minister�s statement assumes significance in the wake of the Centre tabling the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2016, proposing to grant citizenship rights to religious minorities of the neighbouring countries. The Minister, however, was silent about the implications of the two notifications vis-�-vis provisions of the Assam Accord, which stipulates that all illegal migrants, who entered the country after the cut-off date of March 25, 1971 faces deportation.

Rijiju, meanwhile, said that according to information with government of India, the Hindu population in Bangladesh is approximately 10 per cent of the total population of around 160 million.

The primary responsibility for protection of life and liberty of all citizens of Bangladesh, including the minorities, rests with the Government of Bangladesh.

The issue regarding attacks targeting minorities in Bangladesh including Hindus has been taken up with the Government of Bangladesh on various occasions. The Government of Bangladesh has assured that they take attacks on minorities including Hindus very seriously and are fully committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Government of Bangladesh has publicly reiterated its firm commitment to root out terrorism and militancy in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, in a separate reply, Rijiju said that the total sanctioned length of fence along Indo-Bangladesh Border is 3326 km, out of which 2727 km has been completed and 599 km stretch is yet to be fenced.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to cover the entire border length on Indo- Bangladesh Border in the State of Assam by means of physical and non-physical barrier.

The on-going fence work along the complete Indo-Bangladesh border is targeted for completion by March, 2019.

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