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Govt to give citizenship to persecuted migrant religious minorities

india Updated: Aug 07, 2016 13:53 IST

Union home minister Rajnath Singh interacts with journalists at Parliament house during the monsoon session.(PTI File Photo)

Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that the Centre has introduced the Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament to give citizenship to religious minorities migrating to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan due to religious persecution.

The minister was speaking at a seminar on ‘Right to freedom of speech in Indian Constitution in context to internal security’, organised in Lucknow by the Adhivakta Parishad, Uttar Pradesh.

“Partition of India on the basis of religion was the most unfortunate incident in India’s history,” he said.

Expressing concern at the persecution of religion minorities in the three countries, Singh said: “The situation is really bad for religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That’s why they were coming to India.”

On the steps being taken by the Centre for such migrants, Singh said, “I have legalised stay in India for such people even after expiry of their visas.”

Singh also told the seminar about the government’s plan to make available justice for poor at very low cost.

“The government has decided to bring the comprehensive national litigation policy to ensure poor and needy get justice easily and that, too, at low cost,” he said.

Concerned over prisoners languishing in jail countrywide for want of legal aid, Singh said: “At present more than four lakh prisoners are languishing behind bars across the country. And out of this, about two-thirds of them are undertrials. I have issued directives to all state governments to release such undertrials who have completed more than half of the time of a sentence if they had been convicted.”

Former justice of Supreme Court and chairman of Law Commission BS Chauhan, senior judge of Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court justice AP Shahi and patron of Adhivakta Parishad Lal Bahadur Singh also expressed their views on the occasion.