Pak Hindu families living in India seek citizenship

Pak Hindu families living in India seek citizenship

Despite being in India for several years, the government is yet to accept their pleas for citizenship, claimed many of those who moved to India. Om Lal, currently residing in New Model Town here, said he is a Pakistani Hindu, who shifted to India with his family on September 20, 1999, on the basis of Pakistan passport.

He said his family has been allowed to stay in India on year to year basis. Lal said at the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner's office in 2007 his family applied for Indian citizenship.

Their application had been forwarded to Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab Government, from where the case had been forwarded with positive recommendation to the Secretary, Union Home Affairs Ministry on May 26, 2010.

"We cannot go back. There is an atmosphere of terror prevailing in Pakistan. We want the Government to grant us Indian citizenship," Lal said.

Around 35 members of six families from Pakistan are residing in Khanna town. Some families are also staying in Rajpura for a long time ago and are seeking citizenship. These families have rued that their world is limited to the jurisdiction of Khanna and Rajpura as they are allowed to leave the station only after police permission.

"They had entered India with valid travel documents, but refused to return home citing that an atmosphere of terror prevailed there and ill treatment in Pakistan," a police official in Rajpura said.

A Pakistani Hindu said: "Though I am not allowed outside Rajpura without permission, I would prefer staying here rather than going back."

"In the absence of citizenship rights, we face problem related to employment, housing, health, education and others... We consider India as our motherland and this is the only and last resort available for us."

Scores of Pakistani Hindu families have requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to listen to their grievances. Meanwhile, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna said he has taken up the issue of such families in the Rajya Sabha recently.

Khanna, who is heading a three-member committee of the BJP constituted to locate and help Pakistani Hindu families, said they were forced to leave Pakistan "due to an atmosphere of terror there, especially the Taliban."