J A L A N D H A R    E D I T I O N

NRIs demand online and postal voting rights
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 22
North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) has termed the Indian government’s move to allow NRIs to vote and participate in the elections as a futile exercise as no NRI would be able to come down to India to cast his or her vote.

The NAPA has urged the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who initiated NRI’s voting right at the recently concluded “Parvaasi Bhartiya Divas” at Jaipur, to explore ‘viable options’ like online voting, voting through mail or voting through Indian embassies.

The NAPA delegates, led by its Chairman Dalwinder Singh Dhoot, President Satnam Singh Chahal and Santokh Singh Judge, have also sought grant of passports to “genuine NRIs” who had sought asylum in other countries particularly in Canada, UK, USA, Italy and Germany.


“They have not committed any offence and were not facing any criminal cases back in India. They had sought political asylum mainly to get citizenship rights on the advice of their attorneys. Since they had done so they were denied the Indian passports. They cannot come here to meet their family members or to take care of their properties,” said Dhoot and Chahal. They said more than five lakh of such “innocent” NRIs were awaiting their passports.

Chahal, Dhoot and Judge said grant of passports to “genuine NRIs” was their “matter of right”. “We have been taking up the issue with the government of India but nothing has happened so far. If they don’t budge, we will move the Supreme Court of India,” they said.

“What is the use of this arrangement? Visit of a family of four from Canada or the US would cost at least $8000-10,000. How can one think of spending so much in the time recession? The government of India should allow them to cast their vote online, through mail or through respective embassies instead. They should initiate a process that is practical,” said Dhoot and Chahal.



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