UK group seeks dual citizenship for Indians

Last Updated: Monday, February 7, 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

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

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.


First Published: Monday, February 7, 2011 - 14:06
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