16 Chinese nationals granted Indian citizenship since 2007: MoS Home Nityanand Rai

Chinese in India faced accusations of anti-national sentiment during the Sino Indian war of 1962

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 01:46 PM IST
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Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai | Wikimedia Commons

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai told lawmakers in the Rajya Sabha that 10 applications of Chinese nationals are currently pending for grant of citizenship, adding that 16 Chinese nationals have been granted Indian citizenship since 2007.

He went on to assure Parliamentarians that the Ministry of Home Affairs only maintained nationality-wise data, and did not maintain data based on community lines.

Chinese people in India are separate communities with separate origins and settlement. There are permanent communities descended from immigrants and refugees from China as well as an expatriate community in India on a temporary basis.

The immigrant community started centuries ago and became more prominent in the late 18th century with arrivals working at the ports in Calcutta and Madras and has gone on to contribute to the social and economic life of Kolkata through manufacturing and trade of leather products and running Chinese restaurants.

The community living in Kolkata numbered around 2,000 in 2013. In Mumbai, the population of Chinese people, many who have multi-generation roots, is around 4,000.

Separate from the multi-generation Chinese-Indian and Tibetan community, there are an estimated 5,000–7,000 Chinese expatriates living in India as of 2015, who generally work on two to three-year contracts for the growing number of Chinese brands and companies doing business in India.

Chinese in India faced accusations of anti-national sentiment during the Sino Indian war of 1962.

After the war, India passed the Defence of India Act in December 1962, permitting the "apprehension and detention in custody of any person [suspected] of being of hostile origin."

The broad language of the act allowed for the arrest of any person simply for having a Chinese surname, a drop of Chinese blood, or a Chinese spouse.

Under the draconian law, 10,000 people of Chinese origin were estimated to have been detained at the desert prison camp in Deoli, Rajasthan. All of them were accused of being spies, but not a single charge has ever been proven.

In 1964, many internees were forcibly and arbitrarily deported, resulting in the breakup of many families. The rest were released starting in 1965. The last internees were released from Deoli in mid-1967, after four and half years of captivity.

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