Chennai (India): Amid ongoing nationwide protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said as many as 2,838 people from Pakistan were given citizenship during the last six years.

“In the last six years, as many as 2,838 Pakistani refugees, 914 Afghanistani refugees, 172 Bangladeshi refugees including Muslims have been given Indian citizenship. From 1964 to 2008, more than 400,000 Tamils [from Sri Lanka] have been given Indian citizenship,” Sitharaman said at an event here, dubbed Programme on Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.

She added, “Until 2014, more than 566 Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were given Indian citizenship. During 2016-18 under Modi government, around 1.595 Pakistani migrants and 391 Afghanistani Muslims were given Indian citizenship.”

The minister, further, said, “It was also during the same period in 2016, that Adnan Sami was given Indian citizenship, this is an example. Giving citizenship to Taslima Nasreen is another example.”

Sitharaman added that people who came from the former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) have been settled at various camps in the country.

“They are still there and it’s been 50-60 years now. If you visit these camps, your heart will cry. The situation is the same with Sri Lankan refugees who continue to live in camps. They’re barred from getting basic facilities,” she said.

Asserting that the government is not snatching away anyone’s citizenship, the BJP leader said: “This Citizenship (Amendment) Act is an attempt to provide people with a better life. We are not snatching away anyone’s citizenship, we are only providing them that.”

“The National Population Register (NPR) will be updated every 10 years and is not involved with the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Some are involved in raising false allegations and triggering people unnecessarily without any base,” she added.