Mumbai: Years after leaving Pakistan, 5 Hindu women officially become Indians

Sailee Dhayalkar
While Prayana Mulchandani (28) hailed from Kolhapur, Ritabai Sindhi (32), Shantinandlal Keswani (73) Ranibai Vaswani (26) and Anita Keswani (46) are from Amravati. Ranibai and Anita, who applied for citizenship in 2013, are sister-in-laws.

Twenty-eight years after she had come to India with her husband and a child from Sindh in Pakistan, Anita Keswani was among five Hindu Pakistani nationals who on Friday officially became the citizens of India.

Aged between 73 and 26 years, the five women, all Sindhis, hail from different parts of the state. They had moved to India from Sindh several years ago. The five women were granted the certificate of Indian citizenship by state Additional Chief Secretary (Housing) Sanjay Kumar in Mumbai.

While Prayana Mulchandani (28) hailed from Kolhapur, Ritabai Sindhi (32), Shantinandlal Keswani (73) Ranibai Vaswani (26) and Anita Keswani (46) are from Amravati. Ranibai and Anita, who applied for citizenship in 2013, are sister-in-laws.

Prayana had come to India in 2010 and applied for citizenship in 2017. Ritabai, meanwhile, had arrived in India eight years ago and applied for citizenship last year. Shantinandlal, on the other hand, arrived here 21 years ago and applied for citizenship in 2003-04. For the women, the citizenship came as a relief.

Anita said she had come to India as her husband was interested in moving to India. My husband had a store in Pakistan and had come to India on a trip and stayed at his brother s residence in Amravati. He thought we would have a better life in India and hence, we decided to move here in 1991, she added.

We only had Aadhaar cards, which we were provided on the basis of residence permit. We are excited to apply for an Indian passport, said Anita.

Prayana, who resided in the Khairapur area of Sindh in Pakistan, had an arranged married with an Indian in 2010 at Kolhapur. Her father-in-law Dilip Mulchandani, who came to Mantralaya to collect the citizenship certificate, said, The most important thing is that she will get her own passport.

The five women had come to India on tourist visas for three months, following which they were granted long-term visa. Seven years later, they became eligible for applying for Indian citizenship.

Once citizenship is granted, the person can apply for an Indian passport.