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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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  • 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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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)