Displaced Pakistani Hindus, now Indian citizens, live in deplorable conditions in Rajasthan's Barmer

For several families in this locality, despite running from pillar to post, basic facilities such as proper roads, sewerage lines, clean drinking water, proper toilets have been a distant
dream.

Displaced Pakistani Hindus who attained Indian citizenship decades ago continue to live in deplorable conditions in Rajasthan's Barmer.

The Modi government may have ensured the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, in the Parliament raising hopes of thousands of displaced Pakistani Hindus living on the periphery in the country, but would that be enough to elevate the standard of living of the people who arrived in India decades ago and continue to live a life of penury, in deplorable conditions in various parts of the country?

India Today visited Barmer, a bordering Rajasthan town, which has witnessed large influx of displaced Pakistani Hindus from the neighbouring country, to find out the reality on the ground. Here, 40 families had arrived from Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.

However, despite several of them getting Indian citizenship almost two to three decades ago, they continue to live a life of abject poverty, deprived of basic facilities such as drinking water, roads, schools for the children amongst others.

Meet Ghanaram, the man who was around 20 years old, when he arrived in India in 1971. Currently in his 70s, he still hopes to have clean drinking water, proper schools and education for children in this locality, known as the Sharnarthi camp, amongst outsiders.

"There is problem of water, there is problem of land, there is problem of road," Ghanaram told to India Today.

For several families in this locality, despite running from pillar to post, basic facilities such as proper roads, sewerage lines, clean drinking water, proper toilets have been a distant dream.

They blame successive governments for not providing them with basic facilities and keeping them in the dark, despite politicians making a beeline for their locality before elections.

"It's been 50 years since we came from Pakistan over here but after we got the citizenship over here, we did not get any facilities. Like we want light, water," Nandu Singh told India Today.

Savitri, a woman in her 40s was married into a family in this locality. She continues to rue the fact that despite most of the families staying in this locality being Indian citizens they are looked upon as refugees who arrived from Pakistan and live in a refugee camp and where basic facilities still elude the people living there.

She claims that they have to face the jibes of others and accuses successive governments of failing to provide them with basic facilities.

"Have not got anything. Were made to occupy here when had come from Pakistan in '71. We were told that you occupy over here, will give you land. There is no facility," Savitri said.

Even as there are claims that with the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and it becoming an Act can lead to a clamour for those wanting to become Indian citizens from neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, the conditions of those who had arrived from Pakistan decades ago and attained Indian citizenship is nothing to be elated about.

"Over here, 40 families have been staying for the last 50 years but they do not have anything in the name of basic facilities. Basic facilities are water and light. There is no such thing like that over here," Narpat Singh Dhara, District President, Organisation of Displaced Pakistanis, said.

Also Read | Not a single Hindu Bengali came to Assam after 1971: Bengali organisation
Also Read | Citizenship Amendment Bill: A protest for some but hope for many Hindus, Sikhs who left Afghanistan
Also Watch | Is Citizenship Bill a blow to secular India?

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Source : https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/dcw-chief-swati-maliwal-hunger-strike-ends-days-1628397-2019-12-15

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