The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress party brought in a notification in 2010 to give special concessions in granting long term visas (LTVs) to Muslim males who went to Pakistan after partition in 1947 but returned later and settled in Kerala, the Ministry of Home Affairs order reveals [see MHA rules on LTVs, rule number 3, PDF]
The central government exempted these Muslims males from Pakistan who settled in Kerala from the provisions of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 via Notification S.O. No.1115 (E) dated 15.5.2010.
The order reads:
Male Muslim community member being originally Indian citizen went to Pakistan after partition leaving behind family in India and returned back to India and settled in the State of Kerala on a valid passport issued by the Government of Pakistan which has either been expired or lost and – (i) such person has gone to Pakistan between the period of 15th August 1947 and 31st December 1965; (ii) such person should not have married while in Pakistan; (iii) such person should not have acquired any immovable property in Pakistan; (iv) such person, while going to Pakistan, should have left behind family members who are Indian citizens; (v) such person should have no intention whatsoever of returning to Pakistan; (vi) such person should have any adverse report from the police and security agencies.
The UPA government notification gave State governments and UT Administrations the power and discretion to consider cases for extension of the LTV of Muslim males from Pakistan who settled in Kerala without insisting on validity of passports.
This is shocking to say the least because prima facie it discriminates on a number of basis. It is limited to only one community, i.e. Muslims, applies to only one gender — males and deals with only those who settle in one state — Kerala.
The Parliament of India passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) on 11 December. Since then, the protests against the bill (which was later signed by the President and converted into an Act) have been going on non-stop in some place or another in the country. The Congress party and its UPA allies have been highly vocal in calling out the BJP for bringing in CAA which they say discriminates against Muslims of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan which are exempted from the ambit of the CAA.
But it turns out that these same parties, when they were in the government, passed an order to give special concession to Muslim males from Pakistan and only to those who came and settled in Kerala. Didn’t they discriminate against non-Muslims, Muslim women and all other states except Kerala?
Sonia Gandhi has repeatedly termed CAA as ‘divisive’ and ‘discriminatory’. Then one wonders what would she call the 2010 order of her government?
More importantly, we need to ask why this seemingly openly communal concession was granted by the Congress government in 2010? What was the rationale for bringing this order?
The 2010 notification is suspiciously missing from the MHA website so it’s hard to give answers to these pressing questions. An RTI has been filed to see the original notification. If and when we get a copy from the MHA, we will update the story.
Since the 2010 notification continues to be in force, the BJP government and the MHA also need to answer why they have continued with this pernicious discriminatory order?