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» » News18 Shorts

Pak Hindu families shuttle from footpath to tents

Aug 11, 2012 08:19 AM IST India India

New Delhi: From sleeping on the pavements to makeshift relief camps to finally having a roof over their head, the journey for a few Hindu families from Pakistan to India has not been easy. Those who have managed to escape to India say they are too scared to return and want to stay here for good.

For 80-year-old Bakhtavari, it's a new found sense of freedom forever since she came to Delhi from Sindh last October. She has overstayed her tourist visa and says she will not return to a country where her religious identity is at risk.

"We used to celebrated Diwali and Holi secretly, inside our homes... We never ventured out. We built our temples within our households..." she says.

Jamna is also among the 150 Pakistani Hindus who relocated to India. She says she is tired of the constant harassment by the Muslim community in Pakistan.

"Girls are kidnapped and converted to Islam there... They don't spare the boys either," she says. "We lived in fear."

A local property dealer, Ashok Kadian has provided shelter to them after nearly two months of them living in makeshift tents in North Delhi.

However, their relief at being here is tinged with anxiety.

Says Jamna, "We miss our families... We constantly worry about our brothers and sisters who are left behind."

Their application for a permanent visa is still pending with the Indian courts. Even as they wait for the legal process to come through, it's thanks to the efforts of people like the Kandians that the refugees at least have a place to now call home.

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