NRIs want to vote, but seek Punjab govt protection | india | Hindustan Times
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NRIs want to vote, but seek Punjab govt protection

The vote of non-resident Indians (NRIs) are crucial for Punjab, which has a sizeable chunk of people settled abroad. HT reports.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2011 00:52 IST
HT Correspondent

The vote of non-resident Indians (NRIs) are crucial for Punjab, which has a sizeable chunk of people settled abroad.

But fear of organised crimes against them may keep the expatriate community from voting in the coming assembly elections.

The North-American Punjabi Association (NAPA) has now decided to ask the Election Commission of India (EC) to ensure the safety of the people who come home to vote.

In the US alone, there are approximately 7 lakh Punjabis, of whom 2.5 lakh hold Indian passports and are eligible to vote in the forthcoming Punjab elections.

In places like Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshehr most homes have a family member overseas.

Speaking to HT on phone after holding a meeting of the association at Milpitas in California, NAPA chairman Dalwinder Singh Dhoot said, “Crime against the expatriate community, especially contract killings, has created a sense of fear.”

President of the organisation, Satnam Singh Chahal, said a memorandum seeking safety measures was being dispatched to the EC and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Indian embassies abroad should be engaged to register NRIs as voters, he said and offered the help of his organisation to set up a registration process in North America.