Says over 4 lakh Goans risk becoming stateless due to MEA internal circular
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Goa to inaugurate the Viksit Bharat, Viksit Goa rally on Tuesday, Goans for Goa has highlighted the plight faced by many Goans over the revocation of Indian passports, making several Goans stateless in their own homeland.
In an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Goans for Goa, which has taken up cudgels for the beleaguered Goan Indian passport holders has requested the Prime Minister to have a discussion with the BJP government in Goa, along with the MEA / MHA officials to provide immediate relief to the affected people.
Extending a warm welcome to the Prime Minister, GFG Convenor Kennedy Afonso pointed out that Indian passport holders cannot apply for OCI status after the revocation of their Indian passports since the regional Passport office is not issuing them the required passport surrender certificate after obtaining the Portuguese passport.
“Over 500 Goans are affected due the revocation of Indian passports. Over four lakhs Goans will also become stateless, due to an internal circular by MEA , which was put into effect without giving it any thought or application of mind. Today, the people of Goa are facing a lot of hardship and trauma due to this unwarranted revocation of Indian passports”, Kennedy stated in his letter.
He said BJP Rajya sabha MP Sadanand Tanavade has already made a statement, that this revocation is unwarranted, and that immediate relief should be given to the revoked passport holders.
“The MEA circular came into effect on November 30th 2022. Almost 15 months have passed and the BJP government, both in Goa and the Centre has not done anything to give relief to the people of Goa. Sir, if the double engine of the BJP government is working, then the people of Goa should have been given relief. However, it looks as if even not one engine is working, otherwise a solution should have been found by now”, he added.
Pointing out to the Prime Minister that OCI is the right of every person of Indian Origin, and who holds a foreign passport, Kennedy said the passport office has no right to deny him the surrender certificate. “As per section 7A of the Citizenship Act 1955, any person who was a citizen of India, prior to the Citizenship Amendment Act 2003, is entitled to the right to apply as Overseas Citizens of India. So why this injustice done to Goans”, he questioned, adding “due to the complete failure of the BJP govt to resolve this problem over the last 15 months, people now have no option left , but to seek legal help with the hope that it will give relief to the affected people.