Pakistan’s Hindu refugees in Delhi narrates their ordeal

New Delhi: The two refugee colonies in the national capital for Hindus from Pakistan has a story to tell on what forced them to leave their homes and flee to India.

Every family in the refugee colonies has relatives left behind in Pakistan and they fear for their safety, especially after India’s strikes against terrorist camps in Balakot, Pakistan.

Ashutosh Joshi, an activist who runs crowdfunding campaigns to sponsor the colony’s everyday expenses claims that at least seven Hindu minor girls have been kidnapped in the past 35 days in Pakistan as “revenge” against the Balakot strike.

He also cited the example of two Hindu girls who were allegedly kidnapped by a group of “influential” men from their home in Ghotki in Sindh on the eve of Holi.

Dharamveer, who came to India in 2014 says he migrated because he couldn’t practise his religion in Pakistan. He stated that “Our children could not study. Even when they did, the education was theocratic.”

He further added that “In Pakistan, we had to be on constant wakefulness to ensure the safety of our women, All of us know someone who has been forcibly converted.”

Dharmu ‘Master’, a tailor in his early-40s while describing his ordeal in Pakistan said: “I had an established business there but we had to leave because we were being targeted by our neighbours.”

In 2016 he said he opened a new shop and inscribed religious symbols on the billboard and later he was asked to remove the symbols. He was threatened and his shop vandalised when he did not oblige.

Another 60-year-old Meghi, who migrated from Pakistan says “Nobody wants to leave their homes willingly. We were forced to leave Pakistan because we had no option. If someone assures us of safety, we will go back. But for now, India is our country.”