A viral claim suggests that the Government of India allegedly removed the ‘nationality’ column from Indian passports. Facebook user Mohammed Ishtiaq posted a screenshot of a WhatsApp forward with this claim. The post was shared more than 400 times at the time of writing. (Archive link)
Facebook user ‘Ian Newz Channel‘ also posted this screenshot.
The image is widespread on Facebook.
Alt News did not find any media reports corroborating the viral claim. We searched the Ministry of External Affairs official Passport Seva Portal and failed to locate any information about ‘nationality’ column removed from Indian passports. The latest news update in this section is dated July 31, 2020, pertaining to the promotion of certain officers.
Nevertheless, we were able to find a copy of a passport issued in October 2020, which can be seen below. The ‘nationality’ column still appears at the top of the passport.
Next, we had a look at the Passport e-form on the portal. The applicant is asked to fill in their citizenship details in Column 2.8. They must choose from one of three options:
1. Birth, i.e. being an Indian citizen by virtue of being born in India.
2. Descent, which indicates that the applicant was born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but before December 10, 1992. In order to qualify as a descendant citizen of India, the individual’s father must have been an Indian citizen at the time of their birth.
3. Naturalization/Registration, which is for an individual who wishes to apply for Indian citizenship.
Therefore, it is clear here that the ‘nationality’ column has not been removed from the passport application form.
At the end of the application is a self-declaration form which reads, “I owe allegiance to the sovereignty, unity & integrity of India, and have not acquired citizenship or travel document of any other country. I have not lost, surrendered or been deprived of the citizenship of India. I have not contravened any of the conditions related to the possession and use of an Indian passport. I have not violated any condition related to the right or use of the Indian passport. ”
Alt News also reached out to the Passport Office for confirmation. The officer told us that the claim circulating on social media is completely false. He further stated that without a nationality column, there would be no way to distinguish an Indian passport from that of any other country.
Thus, the online claim regarding the alleged removal of the nationality column from Indian passports is completely baseless. In a similar incident in Maharashtra, a BJP MLA falsely accused the Shiv Sena of removing the ‘Hindu’ option in Class 10 and 12 examination forms and replacing it with ‘non-minority’.