Pak Hindus want to remain in India, make Delhi their home
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Perpetual fear of being targetted in their country has led a group of 140 visiting Pakistani Hindus to remain in India and seek shelter wanting to make Delhi their new home.
The group from Sindh province came to India on a tourist visa, which has since expired, and does not want to return to their birthplace as they feel their future there will be in jeopardy.
Living in penury and with their visas having expired two months ago, the 27 families from a village in Matiari district near Hyderabad feel they will be secure in India.
Currently living in tents put up by an organisation in Majnu Ka Tilla in north Delhi, the old, the young and the children have only one appeal to the Indian government – extend visas and give them proper accommodation in the city.
Having got tourist visas after waiting for several years, the group of 140 people crossed over to the Indian side from Pakistan by foot on September 2 and reached the Capital two days later.
Ganga Ram, who is coordinating with the NGO, says they had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in this regard, but are yet to get a reply.
Making rotis in an open space surrounded by her family and friends at the camp, 20-year-old Jamuna said her decision to leave Pakistan would at least give her children a better life and education in a peaceful environment.
"There is no religious freedom in Pakistan. We (Hindus) were never allowed to study. We have always been targetted. We were waiting for the Indian visa so that we could come here and settle in Hindustan. We just don't want to go back," she told PTI as she served rotis to her family.
The 27 families have been provided with separate tents, blankets and groceries by Dera Baba Dhunni Dass to make both ends meet. Some youths in the group have started working too in nearby shops.
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