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Being a Hindu is a crime in Pakistan; revisiting the horrific accounts of refugees from across the border
These Hindu – Pakistani refugees had come to India from the Sindh province of Pakistan to get out of their afflictions.

I spoke to Lata, and a hundred others living at the back side of the Rithala metro station, near DDA flats.

In Pakistan, they were suffering from mental and physical harassment. They were neither treated as common citizens nor as human beings. They faced discrimination on the basis of religion. Being a Hindu is a crime in Pakistan. Since they were Hindus and certain people called them Kaafir – the infidels – they just did not consider themselves to be a part of the society.

Sindhi Hindu refugees always suffered from mental and emotional stress due to discrimination at different stages of life. They suffered from lack of basic amenities in Pakistan, and are now suffering the same in India too. The relief is still isn't in sight.

Since they were treated as Schedule Castes in Pakistan their children could not get education. To attain education, their children were expected to learn the Quran while being denied education in Hindu schools of Pakistan. Their life, they said, was a bad dream. They say that they spent the worst time of their life in Pakistan, which they never want to undergo again.   

They have been in India for the last 5 years and continue to live at the back side of the Rithala metro station. Instead of houses they live in mud tethered hamlets. Currently, 80 families are living here. They do not have ration cards or voter ID cards. Some of them even can't afford daily meals. Some of these people ply rickshaws, while others are survive on fruits and vegetables hawking. They live in a very bad condition. They don't have access to clean water. They need government support for a normal life and want identity, acceptability and happiness.    

Ashok Solanki, the chairperson of OMGSB trust, met these refugees som 5 years back at Jantar Mantar where they had been protesting for their rights. Solanki, after hearing their grievances, facilitated their camp at Rohini Sector 11, in New Delhi. 

In 2017, he donated his millions of rupees worth property to these refugees. Besides, he has also donated flats to 20 families. They need to emerge out of the dust of their hamlets.

They now have Aadhar cards and their children are studying in government schools of Delhi, says Hanooman, their community leader; however he demands for tangible development. Our government has to take rapid actions for their well being. 

Neha is a Delhi-based journalist.

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