By Anand Singh
New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) A day after Parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), over 120 Hindu refugee families from Pakistan, who took refuge in India in 2011 and are staying in the Majnu ka Tila area since then, here on Thursday, got a reason to celebrate.
Around 400 Hindu migrants were seen singing and dancing in the locality where they have been living for the last eight years. They danced on the song ‘Aisa Desh hai mera’, a hit number from Shahrukh Khan-starrar Veer Zaara, and also raised slogans, like Bharat Mata ki Jai (Victory to India).
The CAB that seeks to accord Indian nationality to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amid vehement objection by major opposition parties, describing it “against the Muslim community”. The charge was rejected by the government, saying it didn’t affect the community residing in India.
The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on Monday.
Speaking to IANS, Poonam, who had migrated from Hyderabad, Sindh, of Pakistan, said, “We are happy that the government finally heard our voices and made us eligible to get the citizenship of India.”
Sukhram, who too migrated from Pakistan in 2013 along with his family, thanked the Prime Minister for the historic step and said, “For us Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are like Lord Ram and Lord Lakshman.”
“After this Bill, we are now eligible to get the citizenship of India and will get an opportunity to work with respect here,” he said.
Rajesh, another migrant, said he had held the Indian flag first time after 70 years of Independence. “It’s an amazing feeling to hold India’s flag in the hand. Now I am an Indian and no more a Pakistani national,” he said.
On his reasons to migrate from Pakistan, he said, “We were not allowed to work freely and were not granted any basic right to live. Thus, we travelled to India leaving behind our entire property.”
Now the lives of our children would improve here as they would be eligible to get admission in schools, he said.
The shanties where these people have been residing since 2011 has no proper power connection. They got the water connection earlier this year and toilets were built in the area. “Now we will get the electricity connection and will be eligible for other benefits of the government schemes,” said Lakshmi, in her late 70’s.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])