HSMP Forum’s Press Release

 

Time to walk the talk; Make Dual Citizenship A Reality

  Contact Person –Amit Kapadia

email - info@hsmpforum.org / amit@hsmpforumltd.com

Phone # 07830374629 / 01264 392812

 

Dt – 3rd February 2015

Recently, India rolled out the red carpet, calling out to NRIs all over the world, urging them to visit their homeland. The atmosphere was vibrant and the mood, nostalgic. The Non-resident Indians residing abroad, however, need more than that. The overseas Indian community is estimated at over 25 million and is spread across every major region in the world. To feel truly welcome and “Indian”, the proposed dual citizenship needs to become a reality.

The dual citizenship proposal was strongly backed by the BJP when it was in opposition. Way back in 2011, Mr Nitin Gadkari, the then BJP President while on a visit to London, spoke in favour of dual citizenship and issued a press release on the same. “We are for dual citizenship to be given to non-resident Indians. That is an assurance made by former Prime Minister Mr A.B. Vajpayee.”

After coming into power, the Bharatiya Janata Party led majority government is yet to fulfil its proudly made promise. Developed countries like US, UK and Australia offer it to their citizens. Besides, even neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh offers dual citizenship with selected nations. It seems like a long wait to see India following example of major democracies across the globe and open the doors to its citizens settled abroad.

The UK-based campaigning organisation the HSMP Forum that works for the rights of Indians and other non-European immigrants in the UK urged the Indian government to honor its commitment by passing necessary dual citizenship legislation. The HSMP Forum has been relentlessly campaigning for dual citizenship. Mr Amit Kapadia, executive director of the HSMP Forum recently visited India in January 2015 to find out if the ruling party was working towards fulfilling its promise. He met some of the cabinet ministers to pursue them to take initiative to start the dual citizenship process.

Mr Kapadia, who has been relentlessly campaigning for dual citizenship, met some of the cabinet ministers including Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Mr D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Mr Suresh Prabhu, and Mr Nitin Gadkari. Although they have given positive responses, there has been no indication to suggest efforts are being made to make dual citizenship possible for the millions of Indians who have renounced or are in the process of giving up their Indian citizenship.

Amit Kapadia said, “The politicians were promising in their response but we are still waiting to see some action. We understand the process of dual citizenship can take time as it may involve introducing new legislation and amending the current ones but this process needs to be started. During my 2011 visit on the dual citizenship campaign, the BJP politicians including the then Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi and the then BJP president had expressed support for dual citizenship and made public statements on the same. The BJP led Indian government needs to fulfil its promise and should ensure the dual citizenship becomes a reality.”

Notes to editors:

Dual Citizenship campaign in India – January 2015 – http://www.hsmpforumltd.com/Dual%20Citizenship%20campaign%20in%20India%20-%20Jan%202015.pdf

 During January and February 2011 -http://www.hsmpforumltd.com/Dual%20Citizenship%20campaign%20meetings%20with%20Indian%20politicians.pdf

HSMP Forum is a not-for-profit campaigning organisation and bears its origins to the UK's Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, which was introduced in 2002. It was formed after the 2006 decision by Government to apply new qualifying criteria for existing Highly Skilled Migrants. HSMP Forum has been lobbying the legislature, executive and the judiciary by challenging unfair policies to non-European union migrants. The aim of the organisation is to support and assist migrants under the world-renowned British principles of fair play, equality and justice and believes in challenging any unfair policies which undermine the migrants’ interests.

These are some of the statements which bear testimony to the sentiments of Indians settled in the UK

Mr.Jyotheeswara Reddy Mudipalli, British Citizen of Indian origin, an IT Professional in the UK says “I urge Government of India to consider dual citizenship. My fore fathers had always been farming and I would like to eventually follow the footsteps of my forefathers. Being a British Citizen, Unfortunately without Dual Citizenship I cannot own or plan my future in this sector in India. As I am of Indian origin, since I was born in India, I strongly believe in family and cultural values and without being an Indian Citizen anymore it saddens me to not have the bonding associated with my country. It will be an honor to be part of choosing the Government if voting right was given for Indian born foreign nationals.”

Parthiban Varadharaj, who works for transport for London says, “While I take pride to have attained British citizenship, I am deeply worried that I am not allowed to retain my Indian citizenship. Before coming to the UK, I was practising as a lawyer in Chennai High Court. During that period, along with my friends, I was running an NGO which focused on tasks like creating awareness and fighting against social evils such as corruption and working towards improving the lives of rural people. If I attempt to do any such work now, I would be questioned of my right to do so because I do not retain my Indian nationality. As foreigners, currently people like me do not have the right to vote which is a major disadvantage that curbs our aspiration to have our say in the Indian elections. Furthermore, being denied the opportunity to participate in the Indian politics takes away our right to serve the Indian public. Being able to enter one's own country of birth with a visa would never be equal to retaining the passport.”

Dr. Amaresh Swaro, a UK-based General Physician from Orissa who has successfully obtained foreign citizenship said he wished to remain a proud Indian citizen. He says, “Dual nationality gives us sense of belonging to our home country as well as our adopted country. Taking away our Indian citizenship just because my family and I have chosen another country to live in can have serious psychological impact. This also deters non-resident Indians from making investments which is crucial since NRIs bring billions of foreign currency into India.”

Horticulturist Mrs Bala Kompalli hailing from Hyderabad says the dual citizenship will help her share her academic success with her colleagues back in India.  “Dual citizenship will help us stay committed and show gratitude to our home country which gave us the education and confidence to succeed in a foreign country. I wish to share new developments in my field with Indian scientific organizations through travels and study trips.”

Amol Karnik, finance professional from Mumbai, working as a credit manager in the UK said, “It is very disappointing that whilst India is making tremendous economic progress, it still follows archaic laws regarding immigration policies. Some people might think dual citizenship is dangerous because it could lead to conflicting loyalties.  I would like to compare it to one’s loyalty to a parent and spouse: an individual is bound to one by nature, and to the other by choice. One can love both equally strongly, but in different ways.”

Mrs Bagyalaxmi Naidu living in Trichirappalli said, “I am an Indian national and three of my four children live in the US and UK. My husband and I have large areas of agricultural lands as our ancestral properties. My children have acquired foreign citizenship and we are quite unhappy that my children and grandchildren are made to forego their Indian citizenship. Being an Indian is an emotionally sensitive issue for us. It is very upsetting that my children and grandchildren will not be able to own our ancestral lands. It is high time that the government reconsiders and accords full citizenship status to people like my children.”

Baskaran Kumarasamy said, “Many Indian Immigrants in the UK are unhappy regarding the dual citizenship issue. Unfortunately, the Indian Government has not done anything to address it. We are in the process of taking further action and are planning to organise a protest outside the Indian High Commission.”

 
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