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Dozens of Pakistani Hindus seek asylum in India: report

Published Sep 09, 2012 02:11pm

A Hindu woman weeps while seeing off a relative at the railway station. – File photo by INP

ISLAMABAD: A group of Pakistani Hindus arriving in the Indian state of Rajhasthan says that they will not return to their home country, according to a report published by the BBCUrdu.

The group of 171 people arrived in Rajhasthan’s Jodhpur city via the ‘Thar Express’ train on Sunday.

Although the passengers in the group traveled to the Indian state on pilgrimage visas for religious purposes, they claim they will not return to Pakistan.

The Seemant Lok Sangthan (SLS), an organisation for Hindus from Pakistan settled in India, has appealed to the Indian government to grant the group immigrant visas.

According to a spokesman of the organisation, all 171 people in the group have arrived in Jodhpur from Pakistan’s Sindh province, and “they all belong to Sanghar or Hyderabad.”

The group comprises of 32 women and children of whom a majority belong to the low-caste Bheel community of Hindus.

“You can not understand our pain. My father recently passed away; I could not even find a place to perform my father’s last rites,” the BBCUrdu quoted one of the people arriving with the group. “We will not go back to Pakistan. You may kill us if you wish, but we will not return.”

The news follows media reports earlier last month of hundreds of Pakistani Hindu nationals from Sindh allegedly migrating to India over concerns of religious persecution and security fears. A committee was formed by President Asif Ali Zardari to look into the reports of mass migration. However, the committee rejected the claims that members of the minority community were leaving Sindh.

Later in August, authorities in Rajhasthan state announced that around 900 Pakistani Hindus had become eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. The people included those Pakistanis who had traveled to India prior to December 31, 2004 and refused return to their home country.