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NRIs may now get voting rights

?It?s a dream come true for me ... don?t have to register with the police ... feels like I?m home again?

india Updated: Jan 14, 2006 19:26 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das

Nivritti Rai and Ifthekar Ahmad Sharif feel they are home again — they can move freely and there will be no questions asked. And — the best part — there will be no policeman to harass them.

The two US citizens on Saturday became the first NRIs to get the Overseas Indian Citizenship (OIC) cards.

After receiving her card from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Nivritti, who works with Intel’s Indian facility at Bangalore, said: “It is a dream come true for me.” Her husband Sunit Tyagi told HT why. “The citizenship card has solved a lot of logistical issues for us. Every time you come to India, you have to register yourself with the local police. Again, you can stay only up to a certain period. Nivritti is working in India. It’s important for us to have smooth operations. The card solves these problems.” Nivritti, who has roots in Gorakhpur, will no longer have to register with the police, which is mandatory for every foreigner coming to India. She also gets the permanent right to enter India any number of times with no visa hassles and no questions asked. And, she can take up any job she likes.

Despite being away from India for over 20 years, Sunit still holds an Indian passport. With dual citizenship becoming a reality, he plans to apply for US citizenship soon.

NRIs at the meet said the best thing about the card would be the end of police harassment. No NRI wanted to go to the police station to renew his/her stay as every visit left them a few thousand rupees poorer.

The other OIC cardholder Sharif, a Chicago-based businessman with roots in Hyderabad, agreed: “With the OIC, we will be spared that ordeal.”

First Published: Jan 14, 2006 19:26 IST