Pakistani Hindus dream of casting vote in LS elections

For Ram Bai (42), a Pakistani-origin Hindu, hope is all she has to get Indian citizenship and a chance to cast a vote.

Sitting in a verandah of her bamboo house and cooking for her family on the open fire stove, she shares that she came to Delhi from Kotri in Pakistan two-years ago with her family of 12. "Since then, we have been living here in the camp in Adarsh Nagar. A family here asked us to get our passports, as that was the only way we could come to India. We were hoping for a better life here but since our arrival, we are struggling to get Indian citizenship," said Bai.

Malo (46), another Pakistani-origin Hindu, said that casting his vote would be the first thing he would do after getting Indian citizenship. "I listen to the news and a lot of things are happening at the border. Many people come and talk to us, make documentaries, however, nothing is done for us. It's been six years now and we don't have electricity or water supply. All we want is citizenship and be counted as a member of this nation," said Malo.

He further revealed that they underwent torture in Pakistan, they were scared to send their kids outside the house because of which they could not get educated, but here they feel safe. Even after having valid documents, we are neglected by the authorities. All we want is the basic amenities from the government.

Devi, a 15-year-old kid, who wishes to become a doctor, said that in Sindh, Islamic teaching was forced on them, but here the social workers in the locality attend us. "I feel happy when I meet the kids and I have made some friends also. Some people see us differently but my focus is on my studies and I want to become a doctor. I want to treat people as more than 30 people fall sick in the camp area on a daily basis," she revealed.

Around 2000 Pakistani-origin Hindus are living in three camps. The house here is made of mud, and are not resistant to rain. The areas include the Majlis Park metro station, Majnu Ka Tila and sector-11 in Rohini, Delhi. These refugee camps came into existence in 2013.

The Pakistani Hindu's, who fled religious prosecution, are living under miserable conditions. The migrants who came a long way to seek a better life are still juggling between authorities. Two out of the three camps has no electricity and no running water. A single water tanker fulfills the everyday need of over 100 families. There are mosquitoes breeding everywhere. Many politicians have promised electricity and clean water but these were never fulfilled.

Many of the refugees make their living working as daily wage laborers. The community has built one Kali temple and a tuition center for kids, which is run by an NGO. Even though they don't have electricity, they are happy that all their kids are studying in government schools.

Around 2000 Pakistani-origin Hindus are living in three camps. The house here is made of mud, and are not resistant to rain. These refugee camps came into existence in 2013.  __ZEE

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