Sections

Home / Cities / CAA fallout: Surge in number of Pakistani Hindus crossing Wagah border since Dec

CAA fallout: Surge in number of Pakistani Hindus crossing Wagah border since Dec

ON THE RISE 2,170 Pakistani Hindus have crossed over to India since December 2019, 100 in the first five days of February itself; they arrive on a 25-day tourist visa to visit Haridwar and other shrines after which many choose to stay on

Updated: Feb 05, 2020 21:08 IST

By Surjit Singh, Hindustan Times Amritsar

“We’re not here on a tour. We want to stay here forever. Hindus lead a miserable life in Pakistan. Many of our brothers have been killed there,” says Lali, 22, a Pakistani Hindu girl who crossed over to India through the Attari-Wagah border along with her parents. She is part of a group of 50 Hindu families who entered India on Monday on the pretext of visiting shrines but with the hope that they will be accepted and granted citizenship by the Government of India.

The enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by Parliament on December 10 may have triggered violent street protests led by opposition parties but it has buoyed the hopes for Hindus facing persecution across the border. Though December 31, 2014, is the cut-off date for citizenship under the Act, the legislation has encouraged more Hindus to visit and stay on in India. Those crossing over now will have to apply for citizenship like any other migrant.

2,170 PAKISTANI HINDUS CROSS OVER SINCE DEC

As many as 2,170 Pakistani Hindus have crossed over to India since December, an Indian official at the Attari-Wagah integrated check post said, requesting anonymity.



“In November last year, 534 Pakistani Hindus entered India. Of them, 378 returned to Pakistan. In December, the number grew to 870 Pakistani Hindus of whom 650 returned. However, this January, 1,200 Hindus arrived and only 300 of them returned,” he says. So, in January the least number of Hindu Pakistanis, who came returned.

During the first five days of February, 100 Hindus have already come from Pakistan. “Many more are expected in the coming days,” he says.

The Hindus, most of them from Sindh province of Pakistan, come on a 25-day tourist visa on the pretext of visiting the holy city of Haridwar and other shrines in the country.

DIDN’T COME WITH FAMILIES EARLIER

However, sources say, the number of Hindu visitors has never been so high. Moreover, the Hindus who came on pilgrimage in jathas (groups) earlier, did not come with their families. The average strength of a jatha was not more than 50 in a month. Since December, a jatha comprises more than 200 members with families included. “For example, on January 28, the number of jatha members was 230,” the official said.

The jatha that arrived on Monday clearly sought refuge in India though they seemed hesitant to say so publicly, fearing it may upset their plans of settling down here.

When TV cameras zoomed in on Lali, she was seen requesting the crew from electronic media that her photos should not be beamed in Pakistan. “It can create problems. It’s very difficult for us to reach here. By revealing our identity, you may add to troubles. We don’t want to go back. Yeh hamari apni Bharat Mata hai (This is our motherland).”

‘NO GOING BACK, I LOVE MY INDIA’

A 14-year-old boy, Sri Ram, said, “Things are not favourable for us in Pakistan. We have come to our country. We want to live here. We were born in Pakistan but we don’t want to go back.”

Another teenager Kishore Kumar, a Class 5 student, was proudly wearing a cap with the Tricolour emblazoned on it along with the words: I love my India. “We are not happy in Pakistan,” he said.

Another man accompanied by his two children and wife declined to be identified but said: “We’re here on 25-day visa and will decide our course after taking a dip in the Ganga at Haridwar.”

Another youngster requesting anonymity said, “Hindustan is for Hindus. Pakistan is good country, but its people are not. We want to see what (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji does for us”.

The Hindus were carrying household goods, heavy luggage and sleeping material. Going by the goods they carried, it appears they are here for a long haul.

‘UNDERSTANDING WITH INDIAN GOVERNMENT’

Four Hindu families that came from Pakistan the same day, were received by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who is vocal about the persecution of minority communities in the neighbouring country.

He said the families had permanently left Pakistan in an understanding with the Indian government. “We had urged the Indian government to grant them visas to rescue them from forcible conversion in Pakistan. These families will stay in Delhi till they are granted Indian citizenship,” he added.

Intro:

ON THE RISE 2,170 Pakistani Hindus have crossed over to India since December 2019, 100 in the first five days of February itself; they arrive on a 25-day tourist visa to visit Haridwar and other shrines after which many choose to stay on

tags

SCROLL FOR MORE NEWS
This site uses cookies

This site and its partners use technology such as cookies to personalize content and ads and analyse traffic. By using this site you agree to its privacy policy. You can change your mind and revisit your choices at anytime in future.