Rome: An Indian national has been barred from completing the process towards gaining Italian citizenship by a mayor who argued that her language skills are not up to scratch, despite her living in the country for 15 years, a media report said Monday.
Pushpa Rani, 56, was blocked from citizenship by the mayor of Cairate, in northern Italy, who stopped her from swearing the oath of allegiance by arguing that her Italian was not good enough, The Local news portal reported.
The oath was to be Pushpa Rani`s last step towards gaining citizenship, after getting all the necessary approval from Italian authorities.
Mayor Paolo Mazzucchelli, from the anti-immigration Northern League party, instead advised her to take a language course.
An Indian citizen, Pushpa Rani has lived in Italy for 15 years and said she struggles with learning the country`s language.
Stating that she has not been allowed to take the oath of citizenship, she said: "Now I`ve spent two months in an Italian school, and my language skills are getting better."
Pushpa Rani now has until Sunday to swear the oath of allegiance, after which her citizenship application will be void.
Her lawyer accused Mazzucchelli of failing to perform his official duties and said the case would be taken to court if Pushpa Rani was not allowed to swear the oath imminently.
Pushpa Rani`s husband Kuman, who is already an Italian citizen, said he wanted his and his wife`s "rights to be respected".
But Mazzucchelli said that there was "no discrimination" in his decision to block Pushpa Rani from citizenship, arguing that he performs weekly citizenship tests for people who speak Italian.
"A person that swears the oath to obtain Italian citizenship must know how to speak Italian. As foreseen in law, they must know how to read the constitution," Mazzucchelli said.
"Pushpa Rani was still not ready. I, therefore, suggested, during a friendly meeting in which her daughter and son-in-law were present, to enroll in an Italian course. If she is ready to recite the phrase in Italian, there`s no opposition on my part," he added.