Gauri Shanker Mallick’s Citizenship Struggle in India

Gauri Shanker Mallick's Citizenship Struggle in India
Gauri Shanker Mallick's Citizenship Struggle in India

Gauri Shanker Mallick, a long-time resident of India, recently faced a startling revelation when he applied for a passport and discovered he wasn’t considered a citizen of the country. Having migrated from East Pakistan during the tumultuous period before the partition, Mallick, now 75 years old, has spent over five decades living in Gondia, Maharashtra, on government-provided land.

He devoted his career to teaching at a Bengali medium school for immigrants from East Pakistan, believing he was an Indian citizen due to possessing an Aadhar card and having participated in elections.

Mallick’s quest to visit his birthplace in Bangladesh prompted his passport application, revealing the citizenship issue. Despite his long residency and documentation, he was informed that he needed to formalize his citizenship status before obtaining a passport.

His initial application for citizenship through naturalization was denied due to his lack of a Bangladeshi passport and visa, a setback that occurred shortly before the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was enacted in 2019.

Gauri Shanker Mallick's Citizenship Struggle in India
Gauri Shanker Mallick’s Citizenship Struggle in India

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) aims to grant Indian citizenship to religious minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians) from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before 2015. This amendment to the 1955 Indian Citizenship law excludes illegal immigrants from eligibility, reflecting India’s historical context of migration and communal upheavals during the partition era.

Mallick, now pinning his hopes on the CAA, has reapplied for citizenship, confident that his birth certificate can support his case. He resides in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, and plans to sponsor his wife’s citizenship application once his own is approved, despite her lacking a birth certificate.

The CAA’s passage faced significant opposition and protests across India, with critics arguing that it discriminates against Muslims by excluding them from the same fast-tracked naturalization process available to other religious minorities.

Gauri Shanker Mallick’s story highlights the complexities and challenges faced by long-term residents like him who discover citizenship discrepancies late in life. His journey underscores broader debates around citizenship laws in India, particularly concerning historical migrations and communal identities shaped by the partition and subsequent legislative reforms like the CAA.

Richard Soriano

Written by Richard Soriano

Richard is a massive WWE fan and you will often find him covering WWE news at MiceNews.

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