Loads of baggage, and a desire barely concealed
"Pasand aa gaya toh rahenge (we will stay back if we like it here)." Uttering these words, a Hindu man and his family alighted from the Samjhauta Express with a mind that seemed undecided but with loads of baggage that betrayed their deep desire.chandigarh Updated: Aug 17, 2012 11:38 IST
"Pasand aa gaya toh rahenge (we will stay back if we like it here)." Uttering these words, a Hindu man and his family alighted from the Samjhauta Express with a mind that seemed undecided but with loads of baggage that betrayed their deep desire.
Approaching the battery of mediapersons who eagerly rushed to Attari station to know about tales of Pakistani Hindus reportedly fleeing persecution, Anil Kumar, who reached India along with wife and kids, said, "Abhi toh ghumne aaye hain (As of now, we have come just on a leisure trip."
On constantly being asked that if given a choice, would he stay in India, Anil said, "Tees din ka visa hai, agar yahaan rehna seekh gaye to reh jayenge (we have a 30-day visa, but if we learn to live in India, we might stay back.)"
And then he added, "Rehna chahenge to reh lenge, humein koi rok thoda sakta hai, hum legal hain (If we want, we will stay here. Nobody can stop us; we are legal." The legal bit may need explanation, and may not even stand scrutiny, but the comment that nobody can stop them is perhaps not of the mark.
However, Anil was in denial when asked about any atrocities in Pakistan: "I face no problem there. I cannot comment on others; I can just comment on myself." He claimed he had never heard of any atrocities. Perhaps not keen to displease the powers to be on his side of the border, Anil then stressed: "Pakistan is my homeland. I may go back as well, you know." Accompanied by his wife and three kids, Anil had brought plenty of household luggage and even beddings.
Another Pakistani Hindu named Manohar Lal also remained tightlipped on the situation in Pakistan and stressed that he was in India for eye treatment and will go back. Kamlesh, another Hindu from across the border, denied any atrocities.
With reports coming in that Pakistani Hindus are facing problems in upper Sindh and Balochistan areas, there are a lot of families coming to India. On Monday, Pakistani Hindu Mukesh Kumar had cried and narrated that Hindus were forced to convert to Islam and also faced the threat of extortion and kidnapping. Ahuja had openly declared that he would not go back to Pakistan and now live in India for a safe life.
While many may remain tightlipped, the luggage is one thing that attracts every eye as soon as some Hindu families come out of the train. It contains lots of household items other than clothing.
Govt open to long-term visas: 'just follow the rules'
With several hundred Pakistani Hindus arriving in India following alleged persecution, the government on Thursday said they will get long-term visas to stay in the country if they apply under stipulated rules.
"So far, no one has applied for long-term visa. Basically, we have norms for the long-term visa. If they apply under them, they will get it," union home secretary RK Singh told the PTI here.
He was replying to a question on the possibility of India granting long-term visas to those Pakistani Hindus who have come to the country.
Most of these people have come on a month-long visa ostensibly for pilgrimage and many of them have reportedly expressed their desire not to go back to Pakistan.Almost all Pakistani Hindus, before leaving that country, had to give an undertaking to the authorities there that they would not seek asylum from the Indian government and that they would return to Pakistan within 30 days.
Head of such a group, Anup Kumar alleged that Hindu families were not safe in Pakistan, since kidnapping of young Hindu girls and brides by fundamentalists at gunpoint had become a routine affair.