BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 12:36 GMT
Pakistani Hindus fear deportation
Women on way to temple in Jaipur
Hindus who left Pakistan have not yet got citizenship

The Indian Government's move to deport Pakistani nationals residing illegally in India is causing concern for Pakistani Hindus living in the western state of Rajasthan.

An organisation representing them, the Pak Vishthapit Sangh, feels it may create problems as they gave up their Pakistani citizenship and settled in the border state of Rajasthan.

Map of Rajasthan
These Hindus came to India from Pakistan with valid travel documents and refused to go back because they feared persecution on religious grounds.

But now they are in limbo.

'We have been demanding Indian citizenship for a long time, but [there's] no one to listen our problems," says PVS president Hindu Singh Sodha.

According to Mr Sodha, there are over 1,600 applications pending before the government for Indian nationality to be granted to the Hindus, but nothing has been done.

This is despite the large numbers of Pakistani Hindus living in Rajasthan.

Over 3,000 such people live in Jodhpur district alone as it is the biggest city near the Pakistan border and presents employment opportunities.

Committee

The Rajasthan state government has already set up a committee to look into the problems of these Pakistani nationals and referred the case to the federal government.

Mr Sodha says: "These people are victims of persecution and most of them are gripped by abject poverty and belong to lower-caste communities of Hindus. They do not have a single penny."

Most of them have relatives in border districts, but they are not allowed to visit these areas because of legal restrictions on their movements.

Harassment fears

Mr Sodha also says these Pakistani Hindus fear they may now be harassed by Indian intelligence agencies following the recent directive issued by the Indian Government to crack down on illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

During the India-Pakistan war, a large number of Pakistani Hindus crossed the border and settled in India.

There are some cases in which migrants who had come to India in 1971 are yet to get citizenship.

Even though the ruling BJP pursues a Hindu nationalist agenda, these Hindus are left abandoned as they are from lower castes, Mr Sodha alleged.

See also:

09 Jan 03 | South Asia
08 Jan 03 | South Asia
29 Dec 02 | South Asia
09 Dec 02 | South Asia
24 Jul 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes