Jaipur: Seven Pakistani Hindu refugees who were living in Jaipur since the past 15 years were provided Indian citizenship on Friday.
Jaipur district collector Antar Singh Nehra gave Indian citizenship to the Pakistani refugees at the Jaipur collectorate. Jawahar Ram, Sonoari Bai, Gojar Bai, Gordhan Das, Ganesh Chand, Basan Bai and Arjan Singh were granted citizenship.
Nehra congratulated the Pakistanis on becoming Indian citizens and hoped that they would serve the country and live as dutiful citizens.
Those who got the Indian citizenship had been living in Jaipur since the past seven to 15 years. They all fled religious persecution in Pakistan and settled in Rajasthan.
Gordhan Das said he has been living in Mansarovar area of Jaipur for nine years. He said he hails from Rahim Yar Khan province in Pakistan. “We always felt unsafe and scared there. We saw no future for our children in Pakistan,” he said.
Expressing happiness on getting Indian citizenship, Das said, “It has been a long wait. But now I am sure my family and I will be able to get all the rights due to citizens and we will live as good citizens and serve the country.”
While there are no official figures, an estimated five lakh Pakistani Hindus stay in Barmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer districts of western Rajasthan near the international border with Pakistan. Some two lakh have been granted Indian citizenship.
The migrants are eligible to apply for Indian citizenship after living in India for seven years. Till then they stay on extended visas. Many continue to live in refugee camps and small settlements, deprived of facilities such as drinking water, roads, healthcare, education.
Under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, the districts of Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer have the power to grant Indian citizenship by registration or naturalisation to legal migrants from six minority communities, viz, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.