Migrants narrate ordeal in Pak, govt apathy makes them miserable
Narrating his ordeal, Raju (name changed) who lives at a ‘Pakistani Mohalla’ in South Delhi’s Bhati Mines told Millennium Post: “It was a torture while in Pakistan. Initially, I was named Raju. But after atrocities mounted on us in Pakistan, my parents started calling me Raheem. I was forced to adopt a Muslim culture to save myself.”
Raju’s narratives clearly transcend him to his days in Pakistan, where he almost had a lost childhood and lived in fear. “My sister was abducted by a Muslim family and was forced to marry a Muslim man, who already has two wives. My sister was compelled to convert to Islam and was not allowed to be in touch with us – her family. It is all against human rights, but if you are in Pakistan you have to follow what they ask you to do,” the 12-year-old said in a choked voice.
Raju studies in Class 6 at a government school in South Delhi’s Chhatarpur area.
Raju’s parents and neighbours are proud of his academic performance and hope that he attains a respectable position after he grows up. Raju, a bright student always ranks first in his class and has won many awards.
In 2013, Raju, along with his family of four, migrated to India and started living in Bhati Mines. His father works as a labourer and after school Raju also works as a child labour in a nearby colony.
Vishnu Prasad (40), who migrated in 2010, said : “When I was in Pakistan, I could not go to a restaurant. Most of the time, we used to order vegetarian food. Also, our dress and accent made it clear to Pakistanis that we are Hindus and that was the time when discrimination started.”
“We were asked to pay for the utensils, in which food was served to us in the restaurant. Also, the waiter used to ask us to take those utensils with us because we are Hindus. The Pakistanis used to address us a kaafirs (a person who is not a Muslim),” said Prasad. He added: “What if we give similar treatment to Muslims living in India?” Government apathy is written large in the area, which lacks even basic amenities. A nine-year-old girl said there is no hygiene in the area and she is bound relieve her bowel in the open. “I want to go to a school like one of my friends, who lives in a neighbouring colony. But my parents say that the school is not letting her get an admission,” she added.
Around 8,000 refugees have migrated to India and live at Bhati Mines. They feel offended when residents of a nearby colony address them as Pakistanis.
“We have left our properties in Pakistan to lead a peaceful life in India – the country from where we belong. But the attitude of the Indian government by not giving us basic amenities and citizenship rights force us to think about our fault, if any?”, said Vinita, another migrant.