The trickle of Hindu families from Pakistan has turned into a flood. They arrive bag and baggage at various stations across north India - apprehensive to speak their mind but relieved to be on Indian soil. HT
met some of them.
"Pasand aa gaya to
rahenge… nobody can stop us, we are legal," Anil Kumar told the waiting mediapersons, alighting from the Samjhauta Express.
Travelling with his wife, three children and household goods, he looked ready for any eventuality.
Two others, Manohar Lal and Kamlesh came on the same train. Like Kumar, they were tightlipped. But the volume of luggage carried told the story.
So what was the situation in Pakistan?
"I have not heard of any atrocity, I faced no problem there," Kumar said.
The reason for the visitors' reticence about matters in Pakistan became clear at Indore. The 50-odd Sindhi Hindus, who arrived on Independence Day on pilgrims' visa, were a scared lot.
"We are badly treated, robbed and thrashed," said Ajit Kumar.
But before he could continue, a fellow passenger intervened.
"Remember the bond".
"While crossing the border, they had to sign a bond promising they will not say anything against Pakistan. They are scared. They have family members there," said Deepchand Chawla, office-bearer of the Indore Sindhi Central Panchayat.
"Nobody wants to go back," said Nanik Ram Lalwani, 67, who came to India with his wife and daughter in July 2011.
The Thar Express that runs between Jodhpur and Karachi, has brought hundreds of Hindu families over the last few weeks.
Farsomal Mansukhani, 41, left his home and medical shop in Sindh's Qazi Ahmed town.
"My daughter is 18 years old. I am scared about her safety," he said.
His cousin was kidnapped two years ago. She was forcibly converted and married.
"Suppression of minorities has been happening systematically in Pakistan," Asad Chandio, a Karachi-based editor, told HT on phone.
(Inputs by Aseem Bassi, Vijay Swaroop, Urvashi Dev Rawal)
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.