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Parliament okays Citizenship Bill

Govt would ensure suspicious people were kept out of dual citizenship pact.
By Press Trust of India | PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 17, 2005 08:02 PM IST

Government on Tuesday said it would ensure that people with criminal background and suspicious characters were kept out of the dual citizenship pact it signs with other countries as Parliament gave its nod to the Citizenship (Amemdment) Bill.

"Arrangements have been made to see that people with criminal background and suspicious character are not given this facility," Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said in the Lok Sabha before the House passed the Bill.

The legislation has already been cleared by the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to queries raised by members, Jaiswal said India had no intention of signing dual citizenship pacts with Pakistan and Bangladesh as almost all the people had an option to choose their respective citizenships at the time of partition.

"Those who had gone to Pakistan or Bangladesh had done so on their own. That is why they have been kept out of this," he said.

Asked whether the government would consider giving voting rights to Malyalees and India labourers in the Gulf, he said those affected should take up the matter with concerned authorities in their respective states.

"If their names have been cut out (from voting lists), they can write to authorities so that their names can be included," he said.

Jaiswal said the legislation would enable Indians, who had migrated from the country after January 26, 1950, to strengthen their bonds with the motherland.

Santosh Gangwar (BJP), supporting the Bill, said why the Government had taken the Ordinance route when it could have been directly introduced in Parliament.

K S Rao (Cong) said investments by overseas Indians could finance mega projects like inter-linking of rivers which require huge resources.

Chandramani Tripathy (BJP) asked Government to introduce measures to prevent misuse of the legislation for anti-India activities. 

Chandramani Tripathy (BJP) asked Government to introduce provisions to prevent misuse of the bill for anti-India activities, while Shailendra Kumar (SP) asked the Government to keep in mind exploitation of Indians in several countries.

Varkala Radhakrishnan (CPI-M) sought provisions for granting voting rights to those workers in Gulf and West Asia who earned considerable foreign exchange for the country.

Suresh Prabhu (Shiv Sena) wanted the government to frame rules so that the legislation could be implemented forthwith.

He also wanted to know whether NRIs and PIOs, who would be granted dual citizenship, would be treated at par with the Indian citizens in all respects.

Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD) said several countries like Surinam, Mauritius, Malaysia, Fiji and those in the Gulf and West Asia where a large number of Indians stay were not in the list of countries the citizens of which would get dual citizenship.

B Mahtab (BJD), Ilyas Azmi (BSP), C K Chandrappan (CPI), Avinash Rai Khanna (BJP), Tathagata Satpathy (BJD) and Nikhil Kumar (Cong) also participated in the debate.

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