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March 13, 2024

“Pakistani Hindu Refugees in Jodhpur Jubilant as Government Enacts CAA, Easing Path to Indian Citizenship”

In a momentous celebration echoing throughout the settlements of Hindu migrants from Pakistan in Jodhpur, the recent implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has brought newfound hope and joy to thousands. After a prolonged wait spanning four years since its passage in Parliament, the announcement of the CAA’s enforcement by the government has ignited jubilant festivities among these displaced communities.

“This is like real Ram Rajya for us,” exclaimed a Hindu migrant from Pakistan, encapsulating the sentiment shared by many as they witnessed the long-awaited realization of their dreams. The air was filled with the glow of lamps and the crackle of firecrackers as residents commemorated the historic moment on Monday night. For them, the unveiling of the rules to expedite citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, signifies a beacon of hope amid their struggles.

Dinesh Bheel, another Hindu migrant from Pakistan, expressed his elation, stating, “We had been waiting for this for long. With this (CAA) becoming a reality, many those in line for citizenship can hope to become Indian nationals soon.” The prospect of obtaining Indian citizenship after years of uncertainty promises a brighter future for these individuals, offering them stability and opportunities previously beyond their reach.

Perumal, echoing the collective optimism, emphasized the transformative impact of the CAA, asserting, “We can get citizenship after six years of residing in India. This will help lots of those who have been waiting for citizenship.” The reduction in the residency period from 10-12 years to 6 years, coupled with the streamlined process outlined in the CAA rules, signals a significant step forward for these marginalized communities.

The Modi government’s decision to grant Indian nationality to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians, from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan has been met with widespread acclaim. Advocacy groups such as Seemant Lok Sangathan, which champions the cause of Pakistani migrants in India, estimate that around 35,000 migrants in Jodhpur have been eagerly anticipating citizenship. The influx of Hindu migrants from Pakistan into regions like Barmer, Bikaner, and Jodhpur has surged over the past decade, underscoring the urgent need for a resolution to their statelessness.

Hindu Singh Sodha, the president of Seemant Lok Sangathan, lauded the implementation of the CAA while also highlighting the plight of those who arrived in India after December 31, 2014. He remarked, “But the CAA talks about only those migrants who arrived in India before December 31, 2014, and those who came afterward will be eligible for citizenship as per the old law.” This discrepancy leaves approximately 20,000 individuals in limbo, deprived of the same opportunity afforded to their predecessors.

The resonance of the CAA’s enactment extends beyond mere legal provisions; it symbolizes a ray of hope for Pakistani Hindu refugees seeking solace and belonging in their adopted homeland. As the government takes decisive steps to uphold the rights of persecuted minorities, the path to Indian citizenship becomes clearer for those who have long awaited recognition and acceptance. In Rajasthan’s western districts, where the tapestry of culture is enriched by the presence of these resilient communities, the spirit of inclusivity and compassion prevails, guiding the way towards a more equitable society.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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