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For Pakistani Hindu Refugees, Indian Citizenship is likely to be made easier

BJP in its Lok Sabha manifesto made a promise of granting these refugees Indian citizenship

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Image source: www.thehindu.com
  • Sukhnandan used Kumbh Mela of 2013 as a ploy and during that period, 150 families immigrated to Delhi, and 120 out of them are residing in Maharana Pratap Camp
  • When Pakistan and India separated, there was nearly three crore Hindus in the East and West Pakistan
  • The UN certainly differentiates between migration due to persecution and migration caused due to economic reasons

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Chandra Prakash, Rakesh Ranjan, Santosh Rai and others, and advocate Bhim Singh, didn’t have to leave their homes on the order of deportation of Pakistani Hindu refugees from the Delhi High Court on 21 December 2011. The boundless efforts of Omendra Singh Ratnu of Rajasthan and Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga of Delhi are about to achieve their goal.

Few lakh Refugees who managed to escape Pakistan and returned to their homes safe and sound are the most relieved of all the refugees. These refugees visited Pakistan as a tourist and their visas were used with the intention of never returning to India. Some of these refugee residing in mud and bamboo huts near Gurudwara Majnu ka Tila (Maharana Pratap Camp), Sector 11 of Rohini and Adarsh Nagar of Jahangirpuri, reported swarajyamag.org.

Chaudhary Nahar Singh, a former government employee, who worked hard to make sure that 940 refugees got some place to live in Delhi when UPA government was about to deport them in 2011, is happy with the results today. Singh gave shelter to hundreds of refugee in his house when Hindu organizations in this country were about to organize resistance against the senseless attempts of the former administration to deport persecuted people.

Overall, approximately two lakh Hindus have escaped Pakistan and Bangladesh and found shelter in this country. When Pakistan and India separated, there was nearly three crore Hindus in the East and West Pakistan. They are now decreased to a small fraction of that number in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Hari Om Sahu of the VHP, who has been helping these refugees by arranging their employment, food, education of children, and health facilities for all, is satisfied that the inmates of this camp in Rohini have got decent jobs. This list is incomplete, there are many other unsung heroes who worked for this cause.

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Newspapers reported on June 3 that the NDA government is about to amend the Citizenship Act to change the cutoff date for a migrant-settler to be accepted as an Indian citizen to 31 December 2014. This development was reported in August 2015, too.

In Pakistan, they thought that they won’t get jobs in government, police, military or judiciary; their daughter would sometimes be stalked, molested and raped; Muslim neighbours in and the authorities in Pakistan would doubt them to be Indian agents; the Hindus of Pakistan had to face the rage of Muslims whenever India won the cricket match against Pakistan. Finally, they found a method to escape this oppression: Embrace Islam!

Sukhnandan used Kumbh Mela of 2013 as a ploy. During that period, 150 families immigrated to Delhi, and 120 out of them are residing in Maharana Pratap Camp. Hundreds of others are staying in dilapidated huts and earn a living by selling fruits and juices or finding some work on daily wages in various cities of the country.

According to Swarajyamag.com, Sonaram asks “Bharat mein sab ka haq hai. Pakistan mein kyun nahin hai? (Everybody enjoys equal rights in India. Why not in Pakistan?)”

Representational purpose. Image source: indianexpress.com
Representational purpose. Image source: indianexpress.com

Previous Home Minister P Chidambaram had tried to deport them back to Pakistan. “He suspected we were here for rioting,” Sonaram told in an interview to Swarajyamag.com. And further added that “Rajnath sing, who is the Home Minister now, had come to meet us in 2013. He assured us that his party would fight for our permanent settlement in India.”

Sahu, a volunteer who works for 55 refugee families consisting 330 individuals in Adarsh Nagar, notified Swarajya that a VHP- Bajrang Dal party met with the current Home Minister in the end of the last year. Rajnath Singh reportedly guaranteed them that the NDA government would change the Citizenship Act of 1955 — rules last amended in 2009 in due course.

Meanwhile, Sahu said, the inmates of the camp in Rohini worked extremely hard and with such commitment that they are now earning between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 a day from whatever sources of income the volunteers helped them across. The refugees in some other camps are still struggling to earn a living.

The refugees staying in these camps told Swarajya that they used to reproduce as much as they could in larger numbers. And each family has 5 to 8 children. A refugee said, “While we sought protection in our big families back in Sindh (Pakistan, where we were all farmers, here we are concerned bout our children’s education”.

Frustrated Nahar Singh (61) said, “The 1950 agreement between India and Pakistan said that former would take care of its Muslim population while latter would take care of its Hindu people, but this was not respected by Pakistan. The Hindus in Pakistan were unnecessarily put through this harassment and humiliation. Pro-Pakistan activists of that time should not have demanded a separate state when they knew they were in no mood to tolerate Hindus in their midst.” He shows a letter written to the President whose message expresses this sentiment.

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“What is the difference between these people and LK Advani, who became the Deputy Prime Minister of this country, and Manmohan Singh, who became the Prime Minister, after migrating from what became Pakistan?” he asked. “These refugees are not Pakistanis,” he asserts and adds, “They are just like Advani and Manmohan Singh. Who migrated when is not the question.”

Electricity supplied to the Maharana Pratap Camp is insufficient. Inmates experience terrible heat during daytime, darkness after sunset means that children cannot do their homework. Once they get Indian citizenship, they hope that some area will be given to them for their resettlement in better-built houses.

Sukhnandan informed swarajyamag.org that each one of the adult inmates earns about Rs. 200-300 per day, which is not sufficient to feed the family. Another refugee living near Gurudwara say none of them earns more than Rs 5,000 per month. They are all deciding to take loans of about Rs 2lakh each to set up parchoon ki Dukan ( mom and pop kind of store) and earn better than what they are earning today. But it is possible only when they get Indian citizenship.
“Please write this specially – we pray to all gods may Narendra Modi rule this country as long as he wishes to: 15, 20, 25 saal (years)! He is a great leader. It is for him that we were not thrown back to Pakistan. We now await citizenship status,” pleads Sukhnanda.

According to Sukhnanda, the condition of slums in Delhi is worse off; their slums are dirty unlike the clean mud huts here. In addition, he asked, “Why should the refugees be the government priority when the poor who are already citizens live in wretched conditions?”

These Hindu refugees are more familiar with Urdu. And cannot read Devanagari and cannot understand English.

BJP in its Lok Sabha manifesto made a promise of granting these refugees Indian citizenship. According to the report in Times of India says, the United Nations certainly differentiates between migration due to persecution and migration caused due to economic reasons (some volunteers like Nahar Singh had approached the UN, too).

The Muslims of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not informed that they will experience hardship and lot of problems until they convert. Some of the infiltrators who cross the border and enter the country on the grounds of terrorism. These cases are not treated as humanitarian. Why India differentiate between Hindu refugees and Muslim infiltrators is a misplaced question. Victims of persecution are always treated differently from economic refugees.

– prepared by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117

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Pakistan Elected to UN Human Rights Council along with 14 other countries

The new members will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018

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UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 17, 2017 : Fifteen countries, including Pakistan, have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly.

In a vote on Monday, Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine were elected, a Foreign Office statement said.

They will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018. (IANS)

 

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Pakistan Electoral Body Bars Political Party Due to Terror Ties

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Sheikh Yaqub (C) candidate of the newly-formed Milli Muslim League party, waves to his supporters at an election rally in Lahore, Pakistan. voa

Pakistan’s Election Commission (ECP) on Wednesday rejected the registration application of a newly established political party with alleged ties to a banned militant group in the country.

Milli Muslim League (MML) has been disqualified to participate in the country’s state and general elections.

The electoral commission’s decision is said to be based on a request made earlier by the country’s Ministry of Interior Affairs, stating that Milli Muslim League is a front organization for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a U.S.-designated terror sponsoring organization in Pakistan.

“The government is vigilant and under no circumstances will allow any political party with a proven record of promoting violence and terrorism to spread their extremist ideology through democracy and political means,” Tallal Chaudhry, Pakistan’s minister of state for Interior Affairs, told VOA.

Saif Ullah Khalid, president of Milli Muslim League, dismissed the election commission’s decision and said the party will take the matter to the country’s judiciary.

Political wing

Milli Muslim League was established in August 2017 as a political wing for the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is believed to be a front organization for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group led by Hafiz Saeed.

Saeed was accused of masterminding Mumbai’s 2008 terror attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

The U.S. government has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Saeed has been reportedly under house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore for the past eight months.

In September, during an important by-election in Lahore, when the National Assembly’s seat fell vacant following the disqualification of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the newly launched MML backed an independent candidate who finished fourth in the race for Sharif’s seat.

At the time, Pakistan’s upper house of parliament strongly criticized the country’s election commission for allowing JuD’s political wing, MML, to participate in the Lahore by-election.

Some experts were concerned about the emergence of militant groups joining mainstream politics in Pakistan. They maintain that the political trend seen in Lahore’s by-election, where parties linked to militant groups are able to mobilize and generate sufficient numbers of votes within a very short period of time, as alarming.

“There should be a debate on this sensitive issue through social, political and media channels. By allowing militant-based political parties to integrate into mainstream politics, it will only escalate radicalization in the society,” Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar based political analyst, told VOA.

“There are people who believe with the merger of such militant groups into politics, we’ll provide them an avenue to maintain a political presence without leaving their extreme ideologies,” Hussain added.

Army’s support

Earlier last week, Pakistan’s army acknowledged they are mulling over plans to blend the militant-linked political groups into the mainstream political arena.

Some analysts side with MML, arguing the party should be allowed to participate in elections.

“I do not understand in what capacity the election commission has rejected MML’s application to register as a party,” said Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, the head of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT).

“Did they (MML) break any law? If not, how can you bar MML from entering the mainstream politics when they’re doing it through legitimate ways,” Mehboob emphasized.

Zubair Iqbal, a Washington-based South Asia expert, also raised concerns over the validity of the decision.

“This is how democracy works. … There are some extreme groups, some moderate groups and no one should be stopped because of their extreme ideologies,” Iqbal told VOA. “The extremist groups can be barred from entering into the politics only through people and democracy.”

“Unless these parties and individuals are allowed to participate in the political system they might never change their extreme ideologies and might continue operating underground which will prove to be more dangerous,” Iqbal added.

International pressure

In the past few years, Pakistan has faced escalating pressure from the international community for not being able to crackdown on militant groups enjoying safe havens in Pakistan and launching attacks in neighboring countries.

In his recent speech on the region, U.S President Trump put Pakistan on notice to take actions against safe havens in Pakistan. Pakistani officials deny the existence of safe havens on its soil.

Pakistan is also accused of being selective in its pursuit of terror groups. It allegedly goes after only those groups that pose a threat to the country’s national security, ignoring others that threat India and Afghanistan.

Pakistan rejects the allegations and reiterates its stance of having no sympathy for any terror group operating in the country.(VOA)

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)