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Huge rise in citizenship to Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and Afghanistan under PM Modi

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In the past one year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government has provided a shelter in the form of Indian citizenship to more than 4,200 Hindus and Sikhs, who have migrated from Pakistan and Afghanistan. This number is nearly four times greater than the amount of people migrated in last five years.

Statistically comparing both the UPA-II and the NDA government, Congress provided citizenship to 1,023 people in its five years tenure whereas BJP in its one year of incumbency has already provided shelter to 4,230 people, as calculated at the end of April 2015.

BJP clears its aim of providing citizenship by saying that they want to provide refuge to every Hindu who is facing persecution anywhere in the world, much like Israel’s stance towards Jews.

“A natural home for persecuted Hindus” who “shall be welcome to seek refuge,” declared BJP in their 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto.

On being asked about the reason to provide citizenship to so many people, a Home Ministry spokesperson said, “The numbers of those granted citizenship are miniscule as compared to the country’s population. Government has taken a call resolve the problems being faced by people of Indian origin who in anyway were staying in the country for long.”

Government officials said, settling all the Indian origin citizens back from the neighboring Islamic countries might help the home ministry to expedite long-term visas and citizenship to those fleeing Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Since the BJP government took charge, almost 19,000 migrants have been given long term visas in Madhya Pradesh, 11,000 in Rajasthan, and around 4,000 in Gujarat, as per the officials.

As per the changes occurred in Citizenship Act, faster disposal of citizenship requests have the potential to open up the floodgates, which will eventually swell the number of those eventually allowed to be permanently based in India to around 10 lakhs by December 2016.

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Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah's Witnesses

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Pakistan, Religious Freedom
Members and supporters of the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) chant slogans during a protest after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam, in Islamabad, Pakistan. VOA

The United States said Tuesday it has added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom, ramping up pressure over its treatment of minorities.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had designated Pakistan among “countries of particular concern” in a congressionally mandated annual report, meaning the U.S. government is obliged to exert pressure to end freedom violations.

Pompeo a year earlier had placed Pakistan on a special watch list – a step short of the designation – in what had been seen as a U.S. tactic to press Islamabad into reforms.

Human rights advocates have long voiced worry about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Shiites, Ahmadis and Christians.

Sikh, Religious Freedom
A Sikh pilgrim visits the shrine of their spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan. VOA

But the timing of the full designation may be jarring as it comes after Pakistan moved to resolve its most high-profile case, with the Supreme Court in October releasing Asia Bibi – a Christian woman on death row for eight years for blasphemy.

The government recently charged a hardline cleric, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, with terrorism and sedition after he led violent protests against Bibi’s acquittal.

“In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression,” he said.

Nine countries remained for another year on the list of Countries of Particular Concern – China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

pakistan,Sikh, Religious Freedom
Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, center, arrives along with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, second left, brother Atal Yousafzai, left, and the principal of all-boys Swat Cadet College Guli Bagh, during her hometown visit, March 31, 2018. VOA

The United States removed one country from the list – Uzbekistan– but kept it on the watch list.

Pompeo also put on the watch list Russia, adding another item of contention to the relationship between the two powers.

Also Read: The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

Russia has increasingly drawn concern in the United States over its treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the heterodox Christian group known for proselytization.

Also on the watch list was the Comoros, the Indian Ocean archipelago that is almost exclusively Sunni Muslim. (VOA)