India has often raised the issue of persecution of minorities in Pakistan. 77% of all foreigners who got Indian citizenship since 2017 are Pakistani nationals, says an RTI activist

In the past over three years from January 1, 2017 to August 3, a total of 2,664 foreigners including 2,063 Pakistanis have been granted Indian citizenship. The remaining 601 people to get Indian citizenship were from 42 other countries, revealed a Central government response to an RTI application.

The response was filed by the Citizenship wing (Foreigners Division) of ministry of home affairs, government of India to a RTI query by Jammu-based activist Raman Sharma.

The data is relevant in the context of the fierce debate around the Citizenship Amendment Act that provisions for the grant of Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The opponents of the act have argued that the law is discriminatory as it makes religion the basis of citizenship. The act has been challenged in the Supreme Court of India. The Central government has defended the legislation citing instances of persecution of minorities of Indian origin in these countries.

“Among 2,664 foreigners, who applied for Indian citizenship, over 77 percent were Pakistanis followed by (citizens of) Afghanistan. A total of 188 Afghan nationals were granted Indian citizenship during the same period. Bangladeshis ranked third in the list. A total of 97 Bangladeshis nationals were given Indian citizenship,” said Sharma.

During the current year, 328 Pakistanis, one Afghan national and three Bangladeshis got Indian citizenship.

“MHA data further revealed that people from across the world including some citizens of the well resourced and developed countries like the US (59) England (19), Malaysia (19), Canada (14), Singapore (13), Germany (6), Australia (4), France (3), Italy (3), China (2), and one each from Israel and Russia had also applied and were granted Indian nationality between January 1, 2017 to August 3,” said Sharma.