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Pakistani Hindu refugees residing in Delhi expressed hope and happiness on the implementation of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Monday, saying they are elated that “we will be called Indian citizens finally”.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the Centre announced the implementation of the contentious CAA 2019 for granting citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

Dharamveer Solanki, who is considered the chief of the Pakistani Hindu refugee community in Delhi, told PTI that around 500 from the community will receive citizenship now.

“I and my family have been waiting for this for over a decade now. We are extremely happy that finally we will be called Indian citizens now. I am glad I decided to return to my homeland in 2013,” Mr Solanki said.

“It feels like a huge burden has been lifted from our shoulders. With the implementation of this act, around 500 Pakistani Hindu refugee families who live here, will get citizenship,” Solanki told PTI.

With the CAA rules being notified, the Modi government will now start granting Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants from the said countries. These include Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians.

The CAA was passed in December 2019 and subsequently got the president’s assent but there were protests in several parts of the country against it.

The law could not come into effect as rules had not been notified till now.