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Pakistani Hindus waiting for Indian citizenship

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Around 250 Pakistani Hindus from the Sindh province seeking Indian citizenship are yet to get it. These Hindus are those who came to India with their families with the hope to settle down permanently.

These Pakistanis, belonging mostly to the backward Bhil community, had come on a travel visa. They had extended their visas a number of times for obtaining citizenship.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was implemented 10 months ago, was their hope to get citizenship. But as the rules for granting citizenship under the CAA have not been framed, they have to return to Pakistan.

In the majority of the cases, the Pakistani migrants were living in various districts of western Rajasthan which is close to the Sindh province. These Hindus want to settle down in India because of the religious persecution and economic exploitations in Pakistan.

There are some 15,000 persons living illegally in Jodhpur, Barmer, Jalore, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Pali, who are basically Pakistani citizens. These Pakistani nationals overstayed violating all the visa rules and are now hoping that they would get citizenship.

Some 12 Pakistanis, who were living in Rajasthan for the past 12 years, were granted Indian citizenship at the intervention of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

Centre yet to frame rules

According to LN Meena of the home department, the rules of the CAA have not been framed yet which has caused a delay in disposing off the applications. He said the CAA is a Central Act and the state has to follow it in letter and spirit. Unless the Union home ministry frames the rules for processing the applications, the state government on its own cannot grant citizenship.

A group of 243 persons who belong to the Sindh province and have been living illegally in various districts has to return to Pakistan via the Wagah border because they have not been granted citizenship.

“We have to return disappointed as our plea for citizenship is yet to be approved and our travel documents do not permit extending our stay. We have put in our applications and are returning to Pakistan. We would return only if the applications are processed. Our relatives here would keep us informed about the progress. Once we come to know we are being granted citizenship, we would return with our families” said Bheraram Meghwal.

Pakistani Hindus waiting for Indian citizenship

Ganesh Bijani, the chief of Hindu Visthapit Sansthan said there are 15,000 persons waiting for Indian citizenship and are living in Rajasthan. Hindu Singh Sodha, who is the founder of the Universal Just Action Society has been fighting for the citizenship of the migrants. He was himself born in Pakistan and migrated to India after the 1971 war against Pakistan.

He said the partition caused bloodbaths in the eastern part and also in Punjab, but in Sindh, the situation never got worse. A large number of Hindus opted to stay back in Sindh as they have been there for generations. They lived with the Muslims of the Sindh region in complete harmony sharing cultural values. But in the past two decades, the religious persecution and attack and molestations of the Hindu girls triggered problems and the Hindus found themselves unsafe in Sindh.

The thought of migration began and now the Hindus of Sindh are keen to settle down in India. Sodha urged the Union home ministry to frame the rules to enable the process of citizenship to be completed without any more loss of time.

 

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