CHANDIGARH: The Regional Passport Office here on Friday said it has asked the Ambala police to check if the two sisters from Haryana, who were allegedly denied passports for their "Nepalese appearance", are Indian citizens.
Santosh and Heena have been issued passports "provisionally" on the request of the Ambala deputy commissioner (DC), Chandigarh Regional Passport Officer Sibash Kabiraj said.
The sisters, who had applied for passports, were allegedly refused the same and it was written on their documents that "applicant seems to be Nepali".
However, Kabiraj, an IPS officer, clarified that the passports were not denied to them, but were kept on hold, and said officers have been asked to write "Citizenship Questionable" as a standard comment on official documents rather than about the "appearance" of an applicant.
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The sisters' citizenship is still "questionable", he said, adding,"we have ordered an inquiry to the Ambala SSP (senior superintendent of police) in light of the Citizenship Act, 1955, amended from time to time, (to find out) whether these girls are Indian citizens or not".
He said, according to the citizenship law, a person who is born between 1950 and 1987 in India will be regarded as an Indian citizen, irrespective of the citizenship of his or her parents.
If one is born between 1987 and 2004 in India, then one of his or her parents needs to be an Indian citizen. (In case of) Birth after 2004, the applicant's father or mother needs to be an Indian citizen, and either of them should not be an illegal migrant, Kabiraj said.
The officer said as both sisters were born after 1987, one of their parents needs to be an Indian citizen.
Their family could have roots in Nepal, Kabiraj said.
Bhagat Bahadur, the father of two sisters, has reportedly been living in Ambala for the past 50 years.
He has four daughters and one them holds an Indian passport as she was born in 1986.
It was after Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij's intervention that the process of preparation of Santosh's and Heena's passports started.
Kabiraj said after receiving a request from the DC, "we have issued passports provisionally (to the two sisters)."
The Ambala SSP has been asked to hold a "discreet inquiry to find out whether the two sisters are Indian citizens or not", he said.
The SSP has also been asked to look into all the facts like where their parents were born and whether one of their parents is an Indian citizen, the regional passport officer said.
I have told the SSP to give the report within one week. If it is found out that both sisters are not Indian citizens, their passports will be revoked, Kabiraj said.
He said all verification officers in the passport department have been advised to write Citizenship Questionable as a standard comment on official documents rather than writing about the appearance of an applicant.
The correct comment should be that the citizenship questionable, Kabiraj said.