Hindus from Pakistan seek visa extension to visit more places, immerse ashes in Ganga
Tears were rolling down the eyes of Luxmi, another member of the jatha, who has brought the mortal remains of elderly members of her family.punjab Updated: Feb 16, 2018 23:57 IST
Saying that the five days of visa they got is not enough to visit Haridwar for immersion of ashes of their kin, a 142-member jatha (group) of Hindu pilgrims from Pakistan has demanded extension. Belonging to Karachi, the pilgrims came to India through the Attari-Wagah border on February 12, carrying mortal remains of at least 12 persons. In Amritsar, they are staying in the serai of Durgiana Temple. Their visas expire on Friday.
“We applied for visas for more days as we planned to visit Delhi and various Hindu shrines in Haridwar and Vrindavan. However, we were granted visas for only five days,” said Vijay Kumar, one of the men in the group.
“In five days, we cannot go beyond Amritsar. One day went into fulfilling formalities on the Attari border. One day was taken by the cops, and we needed one day to take rest as we covered a long distance from Karachi to Wagah. We want the visas to be extended for 15 to 20 days,” said Champa, an elderly woman pilgrim.
“We accepted the five-day visas and preferred to start the pilgrimagewith a hope that being Hindus we would be granted visas for more days. But the Modi government has left us disappointed,” she said, adding, “We thought that we have come to our own country, but here our request is not being entertained.”
Tears were rolling down the eyes of Luxmi, another member of the jatha, who has brought the mortal remains of elderly members of her family.
Enraged, Vijay Hazari, another pilgrim, said, “Are we being harassed due to our belonging ‘low caste’ Shudras?”
Meanwhile, members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), a wing of the RSS-BJP, led by its district president Salil Kapoor met the pilgrims. He assured them that they have take up the matter with BJP state president and Union minister Vijay Sampla, who is further raising the issue with Sushma Swaraj, the minister for external affairs. “By tomorrow, their issue will be resolved; the visas will be extended,” claimed Kapoor.
First Published: Feb 16, 2018 10:24 IST