The Uttar Pradesh government in Indian has identified nearly 32,000 refugees, who have migrated from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as part of its exercise to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, state minister Shrikant Sharma said on Monday.
"The data shared by senior government officials does indicate that nearly 32,000 refugees have so far been identified across the state. Obviously, since it's a work-in-progress as district magistrates are carrying out surveys, this isn't the final figure and even as I speak to you the list and the numbers would be getting updated," Sharma told HT over the phone.
The government wasn't hurrying through the process and wanted to ensure complete accuracy in the identification process, he added.
"Physical verification is being carried out. We are committed to ensuring that persecuted minorities in the three?Muslim majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are given citizenship," the state minister added.
Awanish Awasthi, additional chief secretary, home, also confirmed that the identification exercise was underway.
"As of now, phase I of the process of identifying the migrants is underway. They would subsequently be made to fill up a form as part of the verification exercise. Utmost care is being taken to ensure accuracy," he said.
CAA, which received Parliament approval on December 11, fast-tracks the citizenship process for refugees of Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Jain and Buddhist faiths who entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh before 2015.
Sharma said, "See, since it's an ongoing exercise, the numbers could definitely go up. But at this point in time, there is no point in expecting specific data from any district. We will share the final figure too as and when it's ready."
A news channel had quoted a senior government official from Pilibhit as saying that about 37,000 refugees, who had migrated from Bangladesh, were identified. The minister also attributed violent protests against the amended citizenship law to the Opposition's "misinformation campaign".
Reacting to the reports, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said: "Our party has already made its stand clear on such issues. Such steps are BJP's ploy to divert public attention from the government's failure."