The fear surrounding the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) has gripped the Bengali denizens in India's Hyderabad, reports The New Indian Express.
After the issue of illegal immigrants in Indian was raked up and the NRC was implemented in Assam, it has particularly become difficult for Bengalis and people from the North-East to apply for documentation, including passport, says the English-language daily in India.
Usually, when a person applies for passport, a series of checks is done by the city police to ascertain their nationality, current address, whether they have a criminal record, and so on.
However, as per recent accounts of city denizens hailing from West Bengal, it was not only their own nationality that they had to prove but also that of their parents.
Recently, a passport holder from the city was asked by the police to furnish his father’s valid ID proof, in addition to a proof of employment — such as a pension card, adds the Indian newspaper.
The police had even enquired about the religion and caste of the applicant.
Speaking to Express, P Ravikiran of the Passport Verification Cell of City Police’s Special Branch, said, “Ascertaining a person’s nationality and whether they have a criminal record are the most important aspects of passport verification. We are checking the nationality of Bengalis and those from the North-Eastern states by also verifying their family tree.”
Ravikiran says that they only verify the family tree in ‘suspected cases’ — if the individual has been in the city for four years or less and also has an accepted identification card that they have procured locally. “It is very easy to get an identification card here,” he said.
This level of verification comes as a consequence of, as Ravikiran says, an influx of Rohingyas and illegal Bangladeshi migrants, especially in the Old City area of Hyderabad.
The New Indian Express says it was initiated also because three to four passports were mistakenly issued to illegal immigrants in the city, a police official says.
According to a police official, Bangladeshi migrants and Rohingya refugees enter through West Bengal.
They then allegedly make their way to Hyderabad, where they stay for a certain period of time. Following that, the official says, these immigrants apply for passport from the city and travel to other countries.
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