For the Hindu refugees of Pakistan who now call Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar home, the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act was nothing less than a blessing. “They used to pelt stones on our funeral processions. Forceful religious conversions also used to happen regularly,” recall refugees.
These harrowing tales were recalled in front of union minister Rattan Lal Kataria and local legislator Ghanshyam Das Arora when they visited the Hindu refugee settlement on Sunday. “I won the municipal elections three times in Pakistan. Even then, nobody used to listen to me,” said 88-year-old Laxman Das Bahal. “I somehow escaped and made my way to Yamuna Nagar,” he adds.
Forced to sell property worth crores for a pittance
Bahal tells that he had a thriving business in Pakistan. “I was forced to sell my assets worth crores in thousands because of persecution. There had been times when my children were forced to hide their religion,” he recalls, adding that he was one of the few lucky ones to have got a chance to flee Pakistan.
Out of 22 families living in Yamuna Nagar, 10 have been awarded the Indian citizenship so far.