Pakistan Hindu pilgrims seek to stay in India

Shravan Krushna 14, Kaliyug Varsha 5114

New Delhi : A large number of Hindus – a part of a group of about 200 Hindus from Pakistan – who crossed over to India recently do not want to return. Many of them are prepared to stay back in India and subsequently seek citizenship of India.

The Pakistan citizens though officially claimed they were on a pilgrimage and would return to Pakistan after visiting several shrines in Punjab and other places, some confided they had different intentions. They came to India last week on a 33-day-visa. These Hindus are from Sindh and Balochistan.
Some members of the group, seeking anonymity, said that they would prefer to stay back in India if given a chance. We are not safe in Pakistan. We lack right to religious freedom and celebrate festivals, stated a member. Another member said that he would not mind asking the Indian government to allow him to stay in India. It is difficult to live in Pakistan. Our girls are constantly harassed, stated a pilgrim.
There were reports that 250 Hindus were leaving Jacobabad and they would never return. These Hindus – after the media in Pakistan blew up the issue – were stopped at Wagah border. These families protested at the Wagah border crossing after they were detained by Pakistan for almost seven hours. They were allowed to cross the border at about 2.30 pm on Friday following the clearance of Pakistan’s interior ministry. They all have valid travel documents.
Anup Kumar, president of the group of pilgrims stated over the phone that they were allowed to cross over to India only after they gave a written undertaking to return. Some pilgrims said that they assured Pakistan that they would not speak against their country in India. Anup said that they had visa for five places including Amritsar, Delhi, Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Evading comments about the issues relating to the minorities in Pakistan, Anup said that they did not face any problem in Pakistan. The kidnapping of a teenage Hindu girl – Manisha Kumari from Jacobabad in Sindh province on August 7 – had sparked off speculations that 250 Hindus were planning exodus from the region, he said.
A Pakistani Hindu meanwhile said that they fear for life in Pakistan. It is true that I would not go back and stay with my relatives near Haridwar. I want to educate my daughter and look forward to a respectable way of living, he added. I want to settle in India since we face forced conversions, extortion and kidnapping, he added.
A Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna said that he was aware of these migrants. But we want them to return legally. I have also taken up the issue with the union government to build international pressure on Pakistan to ensure safety of their property in Pakistan. Pakistan should also protect their lives and religious freedom, he added.

Source: India Today

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