New Delhi: Fear of deportation looms large over a group of 479 Pakistani Hindu refugees as their visas expire Monday but they are firmly set against returning to Pakistan, saying they will prefer to die than go back.
"We don`t know what will happen to us but what we do know is that if we are deported, it will be our bodies not us. We will die but not return to Pakistan," Dharamveer, a farmer from Pakistan, told a news agency.
He is one among the asylum-seekers who crossed over to India through Jodhpur in Rajasthan March 9 on the pretext of visting Maha Kumbh in Allahabad. The group reached Delhi March 10 and took refuge in a 28-room building owned by Nahar Singh in Brijwasan area in south Delhi.
"Hindus are not safe there. Daughters are abducted and forced to convert. We can`t perform even funeral by setting bodies afire on pyre as Pakistanis ask us to bury the corpses," said Dharmveer, who fled Hyderabad town in Pakistan`s Sindh province with his wife and four children.
"What we want is Indian citizenship so that at least we can die here peacefully," he said.
The group comprises 83 women, 86 men and 311 children - of whom one died a few days ago.
Nahar Singh, an ex-soldier, is looking after these refugees. He had also sheltered 146 Pakistani Hindu refugees in 2011.
"They knew that it was me who had arranged the stay of 146 Pakistani Hindu refugees in 2011 and came to my house. I am sympathetic towards them," Singh told IANS.
Asked how he was managing the funds, he said that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and various NGOs were helping them.