WEB DESK: Around 1200 Pakistani Hindus have migrated from Pakistan in the last five years.They have been given refuge in three camps in New Delhi, BBC reported.
Pakistani Hindus who have lately reached New Delhi maintain that they left the country to escape racial and religious discrimination.
Mala Das,16, can only write her name. This has been her biggest achievement.”When I came here I was completely unlettered. Today I can write my name,” she says. But Mala is still doubtful about the year she arrived in India.
Her family and neighbours report that they arrived in 2011 from the Pakistani city of Hyderabad to escape “religious and cultural persecution and government apathy”.
Many of them say one of the biggest problems they encountered in Pakistan was that they were unable to educate their children.
Bhagwan Das, who was among a group of 71 people who entered the capital city few weeks ago, has two growing children with no formal education. He says they were treated like “second-class citizens” in Pakistan.
“Our children don’t feel welcome in schools there. Muslims taunt us for being Hindu. Our girls are also sexually harassed,” Das says.
There is a primary school in the migrant camp where children are taught how to read and write.
Rajwanti, 13, and other children in the camp allege that Hindu students are forcefully made to read the Quran in Pakistani schools and that Muslim students laugh at their religious rituals and practices.
Ishwar Lal, 18, who came to Delhi five months ago, says he feels free in India. He says,”We have full religious freedom here. We are free.”
Today, Muslims constitute 14% of India’s population, while in Pakistan, Hindus are said to be just over 2%.
There are no official statistics of the number of Pakistani Hindus living in India, but over the years, small groups have been crossing the border to reach Delhi or other northern states, such as Rajasthan and Haryana. Once in India, they apply for asylum and, eventually, citizenship.