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Fearing for their kids,Hindu family flees Pak under guise of pilgrimage

In the last few days,more than 200 Hindus have crossed over to India for pilgrimage.

With memories of his childhood in Pakistan crossing through his mind throughout the journey and the pain of being separated from his relatives,Mukesh Kumar Ahuja boarded the Samjhauta Express with a heavy heart,but with a hope for better future for him and his family in India.

Ahuja,a Hindu trader from Balochistan,his wife Suman and four children — Vishal,Sri Vardhan,Shivedhu and Paranjal Pari — were among the four Pakistani Hindu families that came to India on Monday on a pilgrimage. Ahuja,however,has decided not to return due to alleged ill-treatment of the minority Hindu community in Pakistan.

“The Hindu community in Pakistan is subjected to daylight robberies. Children are abducted for ransom. Hindu girls are forced to convert to Islam. A child of our relative was abducted and when they failed to pay ransom,the child was found dead after two-and-a-half months,” Ahuja said at the Attari railway station.

“I have sold my house and left the rented shop where I used to run kiryana business to look for a better future in India. Extortion threats had forced me to shut my business about a year back,” he said,adding that he had been trying to get visa for India for the last one year. “If India does not give me and my family citizenship,then we will be left with no choice but to return to Pakistan and embrace Islam,” said Ahuja.

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“There is no surety whether our children will come back from the school in Pakistan. The children are also beaten up at school,” said his wife Suman.

Pawan Kumar,a Hindu from Sindh,claimed that Hindus were being made to sign a document by the Pakistani government,stating that they will return to the country after the pilgrimage. “I will prefer to live in India if things fall in line and the conditions suit me,” he added.

Vasudev from Balochistan,however,said he will return to Pakistan after the pilgrimage. A number of others also said they will return. A condition of anonymity,a woman said she had come to India as she had been married to a man here about three years ago. “Though there is nothing like atrocities on Hindus in Pakistan,I will say the opportunities in India are better,” she added.

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In the last few days,more than 200 Hindus have crossed over to India for pilgrimage. Amid reports about many planning to settle down,Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has formed a three-member panel to allay grievances of Pakistani Hindus.

First published on: 14-08-2012 at 03:41 IST
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