For the first time, several Hindu refugees from Pakistan will vote as Indian citizens in the Gujarat Assembly elections. Since 2016, Ahmedabad Collector has granted 1032 Pakistani Hindus Indian citizenship.
Now, these Pakistani Hindu refugees will also participate in the Government-electing process as Indians.
As per the 2016 and 2018 gazettes, the collector offices of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Bhuj have the authority to grant Indian citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring nations. They award Indian citizenship documents after the approval of intelligence agencies.
Gujarat’s Home Minister Harsh Sanghvi handed over Indian citizenship to forty Pakistani refugees — mostly Hindus in August this year.
Pakistani Hindus as Refugees in India
Since the partition, innumerable Pakistani refugees, mostly Hindus, have migrated to India due to religious oppression. Over the years, the number of religious minorities in Pakistan applying for Indian citizenship has increased though many are still waiting to receive it.
According to a report, a total of 25000 Pakistani Hindus are currently living as refugees in India waiting for citizenship.
Oppression of Pakistani Hindus
Pakistani Hindu minorities are one of the most oppressed communities globally.
Hindu and Sikh women in Pakistan are frequent targets of sexual violence, rape, kidnapping and forced conversions. Teenage Hindu girls are often kidnapped, subsequently converted and then married off to elderly Muslim men.
The constant persecution and ethnic cleansing of religious minorities in Pakistan is a matter of concern not only for India or Pakistan but also for the global community. It also raises questions about Human rights watchdogs who fail to voice their support for Pakistani Hindus.