It may sound strange but it is a fact that not a single application or complaint has been received by the north Goa and south Goa Collectors to inquire into the issue of dual citizenship in the state.
It may be noted that there was a huge hue and cry over the issue around four-five years back.
After the issue of dual citizenship came up in the state following the assembly elections in 2012, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an order in November 2016 empowering the District Collectors in Goa to inquire into such cases of acquisition of dual citizenship. Accordingly, on October 5, 2017, both the District Collectors had issued a public notice inviting applications and objections accompanied with all the supporting documents, from the residents within a period of 90 days.
Strangely, both the District Collectors did not receive even a single application or complaint regarding dual citizenship during the stipulated time period.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ on Thursday, north Goa District Collector Nila Mohanan confirmed that her office has not received a single application even after the issue of public notice in October 2017. Similarly, south Goa District Collector’s office has also confirmed that it has not received any application during the stipulated time period.
The public notice issued by the Collectors stated that it was for the purpose of inquiring into the issue of acquisition of citizenship of another country by such residents and for making appropriate recommendation to the central government in resolving the issue.
Directing the District Collectors to deal with such applications or complaints on a case-to-case basis, the Union ministry had asked them to conduct an inquiry into such cases in a fair and transparent manner.
On receipt of applications, the Collectors were expected to conduct hearings, verify documentary proof and take decisions on a case-to-case basis and make recommendations to the Union Home Ministry.
The north Goa Collector said that as there was not even a single application received by her office on dual citizenship, she cannot initiate an inquiry into the issue. When asked whether the period to file application or complaint regarding dual citizenship would be extended, Mohanan said that since no case has been received, the question of extending the period does not arise, until specific directions from the government in that regard.
There were claims that thousands of Goans, who have registered their birth in Portugal held the citizenship of India and Portugal.
It is learnt that thousands of residents have registered their birth in Portugal only to pave the way for their children to obtain a Portuguese passport for better prospects in European countries. They have neither obtained a Bilhete de Identidade (ID card) nor a Portuguese passport.
Interestingly, after the 2012 assembly elections, two legislators – Glen Ticlo (BJP MLA) and Caitano ‘Caitu’ Silva (then Goa Vikas Party MLA) were accused of having Portuguese passports and having processed their Bilhetes after registering their birth in Portugal.
In another incident, a social activist had filed complaint with the police claiming several politicians, legislators, police officers, bureaucrats, lawyers and thousands of Goans had over the years applied and availed the Portuguese identity card Bilhete.