Pakistani Hindus seek Indian citizenship

Published: October 13, 2012
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Dozens stage protest outside Rajasthan state legislature. PHOTO: WASIM NIAZ/FILE

Dozens stage protest outside Rajasthan state legislature. PHOTO: WASIM NIAZ/FILE

Dozens of Pakistani Hindu pilgrims seeking political asylum in India staged a protest outside Rajasthan’s state legislature on Friday, according to the BBC Urdu Service.

Addressing the gathering, Hindu Singh Sodha, the president of Seemant Lok Sangthan (SLS), an organisation that works for the welfare of Hindus, said that they had come from far-flung areas to seek Indian citizenship.

Protesters marched on the streets and thoroughfares of Jaipur city and shouted, “We’ve been persecuted and look towards India for help”. Later, the protesters carrying placards and banners staged a sit-in outside the state assembly.

“These Hindus are the most persecuted people of the Indian subcontinent – but regrettably the Indian government is not doing anything for them,” Sodha said in his speech.

The SLS demands Indian citizenship for Pakistani Hindus who, according to them, have fled persecution and discrimination. The organisation also calls for a cut in new visa fee as most Pakistani Hindus are too poor to pay the fee.

The protesters included both men and women.

“Sindh is like a nightmare for Hindu women who are kidnapped and sexually abused [by majority Muslim population]. Hindu women working on farmlands are not paid adequately for their labour,” said Khema Bai, a Hindu woman from Sindh.

Chaitan, another Hindu woman from Hyderabad city, concurred. “We’d rather die here than go back to Pakistan. Our daughters are not safe there. They are kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam,” she alleged.

According to the SLS, most of the Pakistani Hindus seeking asylum in India are low-caste Dalits, or from Bheel clan.

Social activist Kveeta says the Indian government should provide food and shelter to these hapless Hindus. “It’s a matter of international human rights – but regrettably, the Indian government has left them in the lurch,” she said.

According to SLS statistics, a camp in Jodhpur houses 355 refugees – while in all 7,000 Hindu refugees in Rajasthan seek Indian citizenship.

The BBC report claims that every week the “Thar Express” train brings 10-20 Hindus to India who don’t want to return to Pakistan. In 2005, India granted citizenship to 13,000 Pakistani Hindus and also relaxed rules for Hindus seeking asylum.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • Thinker
    Oct 13, 2012 - 10:39AM

    I think instead of running out of country we should work for our betterment. running away just shows you are not committed. would you ever leave your family when they are in hardships?

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  • Abdul Basit
    Oct 13, 2012 - 10:45AM

    It’s not only these poor Hindus who are having to face religious persecution in Pakistan.The same discrimination and hate is faced by Atheists,christians,ahmadis,sikhs in pakistan.But we want to live in denial,we want to pretend that nothing bad is happening to non-muslims in our society.Pretending something isn’t happening doesn’t make it so.We must face upto the reality of what our 97% is doing to the 3%.Treating non-muslims as inferior,as second class citizens is only ensuring that they continue to suffer at our hands.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Hindu brothers and sisters, if it were up to me, I would grant you Indian Citizenship on arrival. Unfortunately things move slowly in India, so keep up the pressure.

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  • Khan007
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:05AM

    Let them go to India if they were true pakistanis they would stay in pakistan. Every community in pakistan facing the same challenges. India’s economic boost attracting such opportunists nothing else compelling them to run from pakistan. Speaking against pakistan they only mean to please indian authority’s just for getting indian citizenship

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  • Harshvardhan Sharma
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:09AM

    Like 2005 you all will be given asylum and citizenship we all know what pakistan is these people cant speak against Taliban goons and cant name them and oppose them if they cant save and help muslims what they will do to help hindus World has finally know what Jinnah’s pakistan is

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  • Abid
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:13AM

    ET stop giving this issue as a case of ethnic persecution. Everyone knows that socio economic condition of India is improving vis a vis Pakistan. So as people are moving to numerous western / middle east countries from Pakistan likewise Hindu community are also shifting for better economic prospects… India/ ET should stop using this move as a political/ religious issue. I have a question for ET staff….how about so many hindus being converted to muslims in India… who is forcing them???. …stop confusing us as if we’re the scum of earth.

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  • Oct 13, 2012 - 11:18AM

    Lack of comments speak loud enough.

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  • Deb
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:24AM

    Govt. of India should grant citizenship to these people on humanitarian grounds. Pure and simple.

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  • Raw is War
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:42AM

    If these people were Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, then Government would have reacted fast and given them all kinds of facilities.

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  • vasan
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:43AM

    Oh I feel sorry for them for being born in Pakistan.

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  • beta guy
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:00PM

    And Pakistanis still think that hindus are not migrating from pakistan to india…Recommend

  • Hukum Singh
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:14PM

    In Rajasthan, we get the news from Pakistan every other day. News of kidnap/ conversion of Hindu girls, kidnapping of Hindu business-men for ransom, intimidation and tales of slavery and exploitation of poor Hindu laborers. Any Pakistani Hindu who wants refuge in India, will get refuge in India. Nobody can or will turn them back.

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  • Harshvardhan Sharma
    Oct 13, 2012 - 12:49PM

    We all sympathize with our hindu brothers and like 2005 will get asylum and citizenship

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  • aakash
    Oct 13, 2012 - 1:18PM

    m sure things would not be as bad as it is written in the article….things must be awful in the remote areas but not in the urban cities of pakistan….m just assuming…i may be wrong…i have met some pakistani hindus and they are as happy as we are here….so we should not make a gross generalization…..

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  • Iqbal
    Oct 13, 2012 - 1:28PM

    Is it any surprising that muslims are looked upon in the West as the most illiterate and backward race in the West. They dont want to give us any jobs and instead are giving them to hindus who take eduaction very seriously and get involve in less crime.
    Soon, there will be no muslims in the West.

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  • Akshay, india
    Oct 13, 2012 - 2:06PM

    Pak Hindus must be saved from true muslims in Pak.

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  • Prany
    Oct 13, 2012 - 2:14PM

    @Khan007:
    No one is abducting Muslim young girls, raping them, forceably converting them to either Hinduism, Budhhism, Sikkhism or Christianity and then forceably marryng them to boys in these communities in Pakistan. The minorities temples, churches and Ahmediyya mosques are being defaced and destroyed systematically. How can people be “committed” to Pakistan in such circumstances? If such things were to happen to Muslim in a non-Islamic country, even Islam recommends Hijrat to Islamic country for the Muslims!

    Hindus who are coming to India are not trying to ‘please’ Indian Government. If they were given safety and honour in Pakistan they would not come to India in the first place. And if India is providing better economic opportunities to its citizens and Pakistan is not, it is neither the fault of Indian people nor that of Pakistani Hindus.

    Hope you understand the misery of others and have a sense of justice for all (not only for Muslims) before making insensitive comments, which show Pakistani people in poor light.

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  • Oct 13, 2012 - 3:17PM

    @Iqbal: In India there is no discrimination against muslims. They enjoy life and are very productive citizens.

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  • raj kumar
    Oct 13, 2012 - 3:33PM

    why so much hue and cry by the pakistani media regarding malala asmall teen age girl , but there was no response from media when rinkal kumari ,manisha kumari , asha ,lata kidnapped and forcefully converted married of to muslims ,this swows the double standard of media and one thing is the attach on malala is as per islamic sunnah so no need to create any furore and hula balooRecommend

  • Jai
    Oct 13, 2012 - 3:53PM

    I think giving any pakistani minority refuge only serves the hardline Islamist agenda by ceding more ground to them. The world should come together to pressurize all Islamic countries to develop secular constitutions that guarantee human rights to all regardless of religion or lack thereof. India should help to empower these religious minorities within Pakistan to help with the secularization of Pakistan.

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  • Jai
    Oct 13, 2012 - 3:59PM

    Also i believe the process of granting citizen should be extremely stringent as many people including Muslims might claim otherwise just to escape Pakistan’s economic problems.

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  • Oct 13, 2012 - 4:03PM

    If we stop taking action citing Political Correctness and treating all Pakistanis as the same, then Hindus will suffer.

    Clearly this issue is a case of leftovers from the partition era. Hindus should be allowed to migrate to India. Forget Political Correctness for this issue.

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  • Somesh
    Oct 13, 2012 - 4:32PM

    @Thinker:
    running away just shows you are not committed.
    If 65 years of commitment by a minority community to Pakistan and its Qaid-E-Azam cannot bring peace to a it… God knows what will… By the way how much commitment have you shown to bring this issue out into the media before this state was brought??

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  • Somesh
    Oct 13, 2012 - 4:34PM

    In 2005, India granted citizenship to 13,000 Pakistani Hindus and also relaxed rules for Hindus seeking asylum.
    That is a startling and frightening number….

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  • BlackJack
    Oct 13, 2012 - 5:09PM

    @Abid:
    These are desperately poor and often illterate people – they are not going to benefit significantly from India’s economic growth, and will end up living in refugee camps for years, probably in worse condition than in Pakistan (at least economically). They are fleeing for their lives and not livelihood.

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  • Vikas
    Oct 13, 2012 - 5:20PM

    All Hindus are welcome in India. I don’t understand why Muslims don’t leave India and go to Pakistan.

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  • Foolitics
    Oct 13, 2012 - 6:29PM

    @Thinker: “would you ever leave your family when they are in hardships?”

    What if your family wants to kill you? Would you run away or stay and get killed? It’s all nice for you to talk like this as a Muslim in a “Islamic republic”.

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  • Raj - USA
    Oct 13, 2012 - 8:06PM

    @raj kumar:

    You forgot to mention of Afia Siddiqi.

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  • Siddique Malik
    Oct 13, 2012 - 8:44PM

    @Foolitics:
    Another great response to another box-mentality comment.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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  • Rida
    Oct 13, 2012 - 8:47PM

    @Khan007:
    If majority muslims were ‘true’ pakistanis then these hindus would not have fled for their life in the first place. No one should consider themselves as more patriotic than others and allowed to distribute certificates of ‘true’ pakistanis in this way. As regards your implication that people facing hardships who are staying here are ‘true’ pakistanis, then you should be aware of the fact that most of them are those who don’t have opportunity (or resources) to leave for Europe, America, or other far away countries.

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  • vikash
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:14PM

    I would like to appeal to the all Hindus of Pakistan to come to our own motherland Hindustan. We will fight for your Hindustani citizenship and will get.Perhaps you might be alive in the ”land of pure” but you can’t protect your diginity and religion there.

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  • Oct 13, 2012 - 9:41PM

    The situation is dire. I do not see Pakistan improving for Hindu Pakistani minorities, who indeed are more likely to be victims of many crimes and social inequality compared to the average majority Sunni Pakistani counterpart due to a lack of equal human rights thanks to bigoted and abusive policies and attitudes.

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  • Gaurav
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Better leave the country rather than betray the country in which you live.

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  • Gaurav
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:47PM

    Better leave the country rather than betray the country in which you live.Recommend

  • Genesis
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:49PM

    If the Hindus do not leave Pakistan then the taliban will get them.what is the choice death or escape……

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  • DarKnight
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:53PM

    @Abid

    ET staff….how about so many hindus being converted to muslims in India… who is forcing them???.

    Really, I have never seen any and never heard despite living in India. How come you know about it…..:Muslims have a wrong perception of whole world coming to Islam. Muslim populations in India are on rise not because of conversion, but because of high birth rate in Muslim families compare to that of Hindus and Christians in India. Muslims in India do not follow family planningRecommend

  • Mirza
    Oct 13, 2012 - 9:57PM

    It is not just Hindus who want to run away from this “new Pakistan”. Too bad there are not many options for others. Yet those who could find a better living are still leaving Pakistan in droves. Whether Hindu or Muslim all the people who were born before 1947 are born Indian citizens. In fact all our forefather are born Indian citizens does not matter which side of the border they were born. It is not just Hindus are leaving, when Bengali were persecuted they left Pakistan as well. If we do not treat Baloch fair they would also like to leave. Sorry and ashamed that we cannot do anything about it. Have a great live in the future and please don’t turn reactionary and hateful. We are also a victim of terrorists.

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  • Shan Say
    Oct 13, 2012 - 10:10PM

    Disrimination against Hindus is overblown to hide the real motive of migration to India. That motive is better economic opportunities and co-religionist sympathy as a bonus.

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  • arcane
    Oct 13, 2012 - 10:14PM

    I wont blame them, today even Muslims are not safe in Islamic Republic let alone non Muslims.

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  • Poovhen
    Oct 13, 2012 - 10:42PM

    India and Pakistan should sign an agreement for a free exchange of population of their citizens who want to go to the other side of the border. Since Pakistan was created for the Indian Muslims of the pre-1947 era, India should make provisions for instant citizenship for all non-muslims of Pakistan.

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  • Rationalist
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:36PM

    @Thinker:

    “I think instead of running out of country we should work for our betterment. running away just shows you are not committed. would you ever leave your family when they are in hardships?”

    What a callous and uncaring statement!

    I would like to see your commitment “to work for our betterment” and not “run away” when you are classified in the constitution as a second class citizen, your daughters and sisters are abducted, converted and raped and your temples are burned down, you are killed for being a minority.

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  • G. Din
    Oct 13, 2012 - 11:52PM

    @raj kumar:
    “why so much hue and cry by the pakistani media regarding malala asmall teen age girl , but there was no response from media when rinkal kumari ,manisha kumari , asha ,lata kidnapped and forcefully converted married of to muslims “
    These are entirely different cases, not to be compared. There may not be any counterparts of “rinkal kumari ,manisha kumari , asha ,lata ” in India but there are plenty of Malala Yusufzais in India, too. Malala represents all those in all countries where girls and women bear a crushing burden of male dominance.

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  • Bhismah Arya
    Oct 14, 2012 - 4:47AM

    Pakistani Hindus ..Please Come here in India atleast you will be able to save your girls from Forced Conversions…However I know how much it is difficult to start a new life but atleast you will be able to save their honour..and Please Indian Muslims who are wishing to leave and join pakistan..That partition was incomplete now it must be complete…The land of converted trying to convert the left ones.

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  • Conspirator
    Oct 14, 2012 - 5:31AM

    @vikash:
    What is the official name of your country?
    I believe Muslims coined the term Hindustan and the English called it India, the Arabs called it Sindh while the Indians call it….?

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  • Rationalist
    Oct 14, 2012 - 7:38AM

    @Shan Say:

    “Disrimination against Hindus is overblown to hide the real motive of migration to India. That motive is better economic opportunities and co-religionist sympathy as a bonus”emphasized text

    I bet you have never read the constitution of Pakistan and the Objectives Resolution. Go read it before making uninformed and ignorant statements.

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  • gp65
    Oct 14, 2012 - 11:19AM

    @Thinker: “I think instead of running out of country we should work for our betterment. running away just shows you are not committed. would you ever leave your family when they are in hardships?”

    Their daughters are being kidnapped , raped and forcibly converted. If you were in their position what would you do?

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Oct 14, 2012 - 11:21AM

    @Khan007: “Every community in pakistan facing the same challenges. “

    No. Pakistani Muslim girls are not being kidnapped and raped by non-Muslims and converted to a different religion. Everyone is NOT facing the same problem.

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  • Oct 14, 2012 - 6:10PM

    @DarKnight: DarkKnight I beg to differ with you. There are conversions from Hindus to Islam in India. The truth is Hindus do not make any fuss about it as these conversions are voluntary and not by force or intimidation. What is happening in Pakistan is force, intimidation and deceit. That is why this uproar.

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  • Oct 14, 2012 - 6:22PM

    @BlackJack: You are wrong when you say “and will end up living in refugee camps for years, probably in worse condition than in Pakistan (at least economically). They are fleeing for their lives and not livelihood.” All those who came to India, poor or rich, during partition are well settled, prosperous and dignified citizens of India. There is NOT A SINGLE MOHAJIR OR REFUGEE IN INDIA. There are still thousands who are rotting as Mohajirs in Pakistan. we all know the plight and the respect they have in Pakistan. There are Pakistanis rotting in camps of Bangladesh since 71, awaiting clearance from Pakistan to come back.

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  • vikash
    Oct 15, 2012 - 10:58PM

    @conspirator BHARAT is the official name of my motherland but we are not concerned too much about these trivial things you may call it Hind,Sindh,Jambudwip,Aryavrat,India,Hindustan,Bharatkhand and whatever you like. I appealed to Hindus to come to India because i think they are not safe there .I would also like to appeal to Christians,Ahmadias,Hazras,Shiiates and any other other community who don’t feel safe in the ”land of pure” to their own homeland India. We assre you we will not discriminate on the basis of religion ,sect etc

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