A Hindu refugee showing his citizenship document.

A Hindu refugee showing his citizenship document.
| Photo Credit: Samridhi Tewari

 

The granting of citizenship to over 300 people by the Centre under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, has ignited the hope of a better future among Pakistani Hindu refugees living in north Delhi’s Majnu ka Tila.

Yashoda, 29, who came to Delhi in 2013 from Pakistan and got citizenship, said she would now be able to send her children to a better school.

‘Will get better jobs’

“My husband, who works at a mobile repair shop, will now be able to get a better job. We will be able to lead a life of dignity,” she added.

Dharamvir Solanki, who lives in a brick-and-mortar house, too, hoped to get citizenship soon. Mr. Solanki said he had come from Pakistan’s Sindh in 2011 and since then has been staying in the camp along the Yamuna, where 160 families live.

Other Pakistani Hindu settlements in Delhi are located in Adarsh Nagar, Rohini and Shahbad Dairy areas.

At Majnu ka Tila, the settlement is dotted by kutcha houses and a muddy road. Residents said till now they struggled for clean drinking water and power supply and hoped their living conditions will now improve.

‘Have voting rights’

“We will now be able to elect our leader. We will have civic rights and be able to ask questions and seek answers,” Mr. Solanki said.

Harish Kumar, 23, who also received citizenship, said they have been living in India on a tourist visa, which needed to be renewed every six or 12 months.

“For each family member, it cost ₹2,000-4,000,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hanuman Prasad, 45, who runs a grocery store and awaits citizenship, said the pandemic and the Delhi floods last year made their survival difficult. “We’re living in an area that lacks education facilities for children and employment for the youth, who mostly work as vegetable vendors or have opened up cigarette shops. Some of them even sell cell phone covers, but we all know how much they can earn,” he said.

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