UK group seeks dual citizenship for Indians
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Last Updated: Monday, February 07, 2011, 14:06
  
London: The Indian government is likely to consider granting dual citizenship to Indians living abroad, according to the HSMP Forum, a leading campaign group that has espoused the cause of Indian and other non-EU immigrants in Britain.

Amit Kapadia, chairman of the forum, recently met several ministers and politicians in India, and returned with the perception that they "acknowledged the need to review the dual citizenship policy". India currently does not allow dual citizenship.

If an Indian citizen acquires British or other foreign citizenship, the Indian citizenship is required to be given up and the passport surrendered.

To facilitate visits to India and other facilities, Indians acquiring foreign citizenship can apply and gain the status of "Overseas Citizen of India" or "Person of Indian Origin", but the forum said these cards "fall short of the sense of the identity and security given by retaining one's Indian nationality".

Kapadia said: "We have found a lot of support from cross party politicians regarding the dual citizenship provision and they have shown great willingness to raise this matter in the Parliament and political circles. Many are confident that this change is inevitable and long overdue".

He added: "We believe this issue has been long suppressed and undermines the contribution of the non-resident Indian community settled abroad. We want and implore the Indian government to give this matter its due importance."

Kapadia said he met Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary, Veerappa Moily, Minister of Law and Justice, D Raja of the Communist Party of India, Subramaniam Swamy of the Janata Party, Nitin Gadkari, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, and some Chief Ministers to discuss this issue.

"Although, most politicians were supportive of the dual citizenship provision the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Mr Vayalar Ravi was not in favour of the dual citizenship provision," a forum press release said.

Security concern was the only objection expressed by some politicians in providing dual citizenship to people settled in certain countries.

The forum argued that rules could be put in place to protect any further concerns but this should not lead to a complete deprivation especially for those who were born as Indian citizens.

"Certain conservative political mindsets are of the opinion that since the NRIs left the country on their own accord for commercial gains they should be stripped of privileges back home. The forum argues that citizenship is a basic birthright for those who were born in India and not a privilege," the forum said.

In 2010, the forum wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing concerns of non-resident Indian community settled in the UK but found no progress or review of the dual citizenship issue.

PTI


First Published: Monday, February 07, 2011, 14:06


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