Attari (Punjab): A
fresh batch of Pakistani Hindus arrived in India Monday on board
the Samjhauta Express, the peace train between India and Pakistan,
and many of them said that they would not return given the
atmosphere of fear prevailing where they live.
Talking to media persons after alighting from the train here, 30
km from Amritsar, members of six-seven families said they feared
for their lives in Pakistan due to the pressure from Islamists who
were forcing them to convert.
Immigration officials here said that over 30 Pakistani Hindus
arrived by the train here Monday.
Mukesh Kumar Ahuja, a Pakistani Hindu, said: "Things are so bad
for Hindus in Pakistan that we have decided that we will not
return at all even though we have signed documents in Pakistan
assuring authorities that we will return. We will request for
asylum here. We have been forced to give up our established
"Religious conversions is being forced, kidnappings, murders and
beatings are frequent for Hindus and they are being harassed (by
Islamists). There are at least 5,000 Hindu families who are
waiting to move to India but the Pakistani authorities are holding
them back," said a visibly-disturbed Ahuja, who lives in
He said that one of his relatives, Ravi, was kidnapped recently
and crores of rupees were sought in ransom. "When the ransom was
not paid, they killed him," he said.
Others who arrived here Monday said that hundreds of Hindu
families wanted to leave Pakistan and come to settle in India.
"Even though the Pakistan authorities have set up a commission for
the Hindu families to stop their exodus, things are so bad that
Hindus just want to leave Pakistan. When the Hindus take a visa
for India and come to the border, they are being forced to sign
documents promising to return to Pakistan," said another harried
Pakistani Hindu, who did not wish to be identified.
"Our children are not safe there. Whenever they go out of the
home, we fear for them," Suman Devi, who arrived Monday, said.
Another Pakistani Hindu, Pawan Kumar, said: "Though we have signed
documents there that we will return, we will not do so. We fear
for our lives there. The Pakistan authorities are only resorting
to gimmicks (by assuring safety to Hindus there)."
Nearly 250 Pakistan Hindus had arrived in India through the
Wagah-Attari land border check-post last week. They were allowed
to enter India after being detained on the Pakistan side for
several hours and only allowed to proceed after signing documents
saying that they would return to Pakistan after their 33-day
"We will return to Pakistan. We have given this assurance to
authorities there," said Anup Kumar, who led the 250-member
pilgrimage group to India.
About 10 families from Pakistan, who had arrived in the train here
recently, are camping in Amritsar city and seeking asylum in
The Punjab Congress Monday sought the intervention of Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh to address the plight of Hindus and Sikhs
living in Pakistan.
Punjab Congress general secretary Arvind Khanna said Hindus and
Sikhs are facing intimidation and forced conversion across
Pakistan, particularly in the Sindh province.
He demanded that those who had reached India must be provided
relief, shelter and asylum since they are scared to go back.
Khanna urged the central government to talk to the Pakistan
government on the issue.