February 20, 2019

India 70th Republic Day Celebrations

Over 600 people gather at the Indian Ambassador’s residence in Wassenaar, Netherlands to celebrate the 70th Republic Day of India

Over 600 people gathered at the residence of the Ambassador of India to the Netherlands H.E. Mr. Venu Rajamony in Wassenaar this morning (January 26) for a flag hoisting function to celebrate India’s 70th Republic Day. The celebrations began with the hoisting of the National flag by the Ambassador, singing of the National anthem and reading out of President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation. This was followed by a performance of patriotic songs. 

The event was attended by H.E. Mr. Bas Eenhoorn, Mayor of Amstelveen, H.E.  Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Ambassador of Bangladesh and H.E. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Judge at the International Court of Justice and  prominent members of the Indian community residing in the Netherlands.

The flag-hoisting function witnessed a large gathering of the Indian diaspora, especially members of the Surinami-Hindustani community and friends of India who came together to celebrate this important day. 

India Republic Day 2019.

The Republic Day celebrations also witnessed a special announcement by Ambassador Venu Rajamony on liberalization of provisions regarding Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) status by the Government of India for members of the Surinami-Hindustani community. Earlier, there was a limitation that OCI could be issued only to four generations of the original forefathers who had migrated from India. Consequently, many young members of the Surinami-Hindustani community belonging to fifth and subsequent generations could not avail of this benefit. 

As a result of persistent efforts by the Embassy, the Government of India has decided that, henceforth descendants up to sixth generation of the original Indian immigrants who had arrived in Suriname and later migrated to The Netherlands may be considered for OCI.

 Ambassador Venu Rajamony invited all members of Surinami-Hindustani community who do not have an OCI card to apply for the same at the earliest. He also announced that because mandatory conscription was in force in the Netherlands prior to 1996, those members of the Surinami-Hindustani Community who were excluded from the OCI scheme can also now apply for OCI.

     The Netherlands has the largest population of Overseas Indians in mainland Europe, majority belonging to the 200,000 strong Surinami-Hindustani community whose ancestors were taken as indentured labour from India to Suriname 145 years ago.

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