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Pakistan returned Hindu families are fighting for Indian citizenship

Several Pakistan returned Hindu families in Khanna, Rajpura and other towns from The state of Punjab, in India are fighting for their rights in a country which they claim as their own. Despite being in India for last few years, the Indian Government is yet to accept that they are Indians.

Oam Lal, currently residing in New Model Town, Amloh Road, Khanna said he is a Pakistani Hindu, who shifted to India with his family on September 20, 1999 on the basis of Pakistan passport but he is still fighting for Indian citizenship rights. He said after reaching Khanna, he has his family members’ intimated Khanna police. He and his family members have been allowed to stay in India on year to year basis.

He said he and his family members applied to Ludhiana Deputy Commission office in 2007 to get Indian citizenship. The DC then forwarded the application to Department of Home Affairs and Justice of Punjab Government and Under Secretary Home had forwarded the case to the Secretary of Union Home Ministry on May 26, 2010.While forwarding the case of Oam Lal, the Under Secretary clearly mentioned, “There is nothing against him on the local police, State CID indices. As such State government has no objection if the applicant is registered as an Indian Citizenship. Government of India is requested to consider the matter and to convey the decision at an early date.”

Similar case of Oam Lal’s wife Tillawanti, his daughter’s Ram Chambeli and other family members were forwarded by the Under Secretary to Union Home Ministry but the family is still waiting for a reply from Union Home Ministry.

Around 35 members of six families are residing in Khanna town. There are some families in Rajpura which was shifted to India long time ago and is still fighting for citizenship rights. Their world is limited to the jurisdiction of Rajpura as they are not allowed to leave the station without the permission from the police department as they are yet to be granted the citizenship of India.

"They had entered India with valid travel documents, but refused to return home citing ill treatment in Pakistan and the court has given them stay", said a cop of Rajpura police. "After the Babri Masjid was demolished in India, Hindus were the softest target and were brutally murdered, some even burnt alive in front of our eyes. So we decided that it was time to quit and move to India", said a Pak Hindu now settled in Rajpura.

"Though I am not allowed outside Rajpura without permission, I would rather commit suicide than return to Pakistan. Hindus are not safe in Pakistan", he said.

Demanding Indian citizenship, scores of Pakistani Hindu families settled in Khanna recently handed over a memorandum to MP Avinash Rai Khanna. Demanding citizenship rights, they urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to take up their issue and appealed to Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to listen to their genuine grievances, as they have been residing in India for long time.

“In the absence of any citizenship rights, we have no ration cards, licences, voter cards, homes and employment, no education and health facility and we face problems everywhere. We consider India as our motherland and this is the only and last resort available for us,” said a Pak Hindu now settled in Rajpura.

AVINASH RAI KHANNA TAKEN UP ISSUE RAJYA SABHA

Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna has taken up the issue in Rajya Sabha. Khanna, who is heading a three-member committee of the BJP, constituted to locate and help those Hindu families, who have migrated from Pakistan to India, said these families were forced to return from Pakistan due to an atmosphere of terror created by Muslims of Pakistan especially the Taliban. Most of these families are residing temporarily in Khanna, Rajpura, Jalandhar and Amritsar, Jalandhar at present.

Avinash Rai Khanna, who met about some of these families in Khanna town recently said that several Hindu families, who had migrated here from Pakistan, were seeking Indian citizenship from the Union Government, after a period of five years, according to the Indian law. Khanna also demanded from the state government to instruct the Rehabilitation Department to fix Rs 500 per member as pension of such families as these families had lost all their possessions back in Pakistan.

Avinash Rai Khanna says the committee has prepared the list of all such Hindu migrant families living in Punjab with the help of legislators from respective areas. He says several Hindu families had been forced to convert in Pakistan.



Photo Caption 1: Pakistan returned Hindus in Khanna. Photo by Gurpreet Singh Mehak
Photo Caption 2 : Avinash Rai Khanna



Contributed by: Gurpreet Singh Mehal
City: 
Country: India
Date: December 28, 2011
SJ910201025