200 Pakistani Hindus cross Attari-Wagah border, some say will seek asylum


PTI, Feb 4, 2020, 11:20 AM IST

Amritsar: About 200 Pakistani Hindus crossed over to India through the Attari-Wagah border on Monday, officials said amid indications that several travellers did not wish to go back.

The Pakistani Hindus came on a visitor’s visa but some of them claimed that they felt unsafe in Pakistan and hoped to get India citizenship after the enactment of the CAA.

Akali leader and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa was at the border to receive four families who he claimed had “fled” Pakistan due to religious persecution.

Border officials claim the number of Hindus travellers from Pakistani using this border crossing has increased significantly over the past month.

The Citizenship Amendment Act envisages giving Indian nationality to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution there.

Most of the travellers crossing over to India on Monday belonged to Sindh and Karachi areas. Some of them carried luggage and said they will seek asylum in India.

One of the Pakistani Hindus on the condition of anonymity said after the enactment of the new citizenship law, Hindus and Sikhs living in Pakistan and Afghanistan were “optimistic” of getting Indian citizenship.

Most of them were travelling to Rajasthan to meet their relatives, they said.

“We are not feeling safe in Pakistan. Our girls feel insecure as they fear that they could be kidnapped any time by hardliners while police watch as mute spectators. Our girls cannot walk freely in the north-west area of Pakistan,” said a woman.

Two more women, without disclosing their names, told the media that kidnapping of Hindu girls had become a routine affair in Pakistan and no family dared to lodge a complaint with police against fundamentalists.

Meanwhile, Akali leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said he was at the border crossing to receive four families who “fled” Pakistan.

Sirsa said he would meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday and requested him to grant them Indian citizenship.

“4 Hindu-Sikh families have fled Pakistan to save their life and religious faith. I recvd the family members today at border. We are meeting HM @AmitShah Ji tomo to request him to grant them citizenship at the earliest possible,” Sirsa tweeted.

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