Addressing a gathering at the camp, Tiwari said, “Now you are true Indian, and India welcomes you with open arms. You can restart your life here and embark on the path of prosperity.” (File)
A day after the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, BJP leaders, including Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari, made a beeline to North Delhi’s Majnu ka Tilla to “congratulate” Hindu refugees from Pakistan’s Sindh province.
With around 130 households, the camp has 700-odd refugees who fled Pakistan starting 2010 due to “religious persecution” and came to India on tourist and pilgrimage visas.
Addressing a gathering at the camp, Tiwari said, “Now you are true Indian, and India welcomes you with open arms. You can restart your life here and embark on the path of prosperity.”
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi told me he was aware of your persecution,” Tiwari said amid chants of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Modi, Modi”.
Also present were Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel, North Delhi mayor Avtar Singh and other party leaders.
In the crowd was Lakshmi (75), who was among the first batch of refugees who came India in 2010. “We could not flee Pakistan during Partition because of violence. Today, I can proudly say that I am an Indian citizen,” she said.
Most refugees work as farm labourers, vegetable sellers, or hawkers selling items such as phone covers. In Pakistan, they were mostly farmers. The houses at the camp are semi-pucca, with shades propped up by bamboo poles. The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board built public toilets in the area in 2015.
Another refugee, Gurumukh (32) said he now hoped to buy land for agriculture. “We used to grow vegetables and fruits in Pakistan,” said Gurumukh, who sells mobile covers. His family came to India in 2011 on a pilgrimage visa.
His relative Heera Lal (22) said he was relieved his family will not have to visit Foreigners Regional Registration Office for visa renewals anymore. "This will save a few thousands too," he said.