171 Hindus arrive from Pakistan, seeking refugee status

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171 Hindus arrive from Pakistan, seeking refugee status
Jodhpur:  A batch of 171 Hindus today have arrived in Jodhpur from Pakistan after a three-month long arduous journey with leader of the group saying they were seeking a refugee status in India for the sake of "self-respect", religious freedom and children's future.

They have been accommodated temporarily in a temple campus until proper arrangements are made.

"We have intimated the chief minister about this, who was in Jodhpur today and expect him to direct the administration to make some arrangements for them," said Singh Sodha, president of Seemant Lok Sangthan, an organisation fighting for the rehabilitation of Hindu migrants.

"The exodus of Hindus from Pakistan on account of religious, financial and social persecution, is not a new phenomenon but this largest ever migration after the fencing on the Indo-Pak border, is a testimony that the conditions for the Hindu families in Pakistan continue to be intolerable and humiliating," said Sodha.

The group is led by Chetan Ram, who has been a sarpanch of his village.

All of them have come incognito, not disclosing their departure even to their relatives.

"If the news that we were planning or preparing to leave for India had spread, the masters, whom we serve, would have made it difficult or almost impossible for us to leave Pakistan driven by a fear that they will lose their labourers," said Chetan.

So as a strategy, all these families left their houses about 3 months back and kept changing their locations so as to do away with any suspicion to our masters or landlords.

"And on Friday, we left for India leaving all our belongings back in Pakistan," Chetan said.

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