Pak-Hindu pilgrims arrive in India following brief detention over exodus fears

Saturday, August 11, 2012
Islamabad/Amritsar: Pakistani immigration officials on Friday detained and quizzed more than 200 Pakistani Hindu pilgrims crossing over to India at the Wagah border following reports that they were planning to migrate to India to escape from abductions and attacks on their businesses in Upper Sindh.

After seven hours of interrogation only the authorities allowed them to enter India.

If reports of Pakistani media to believed, around 250 Hindus from the Sindh and Balochistan provinces left for India after being allegedly harassed. Their shops and houses were vandalised while women were forced to convert to Islam, they complained.

A section of the Pakistani media subsequently linked the exodus with the recent kidnapping of a Hindu woman from Jacobabad in Sindh.

As per the reports, the pilgrims have a 33-day visa for different Indian cities. These 250 pilgrims, who reached Pakistan Customs and Immigration authorities on the Indo-Pak border at 8 am, started crossing over to India only after 2.30 pm as various Pakistan agencies flocked to the Wagah border in view of the reports regarding their migration.

Around 125 pilgrims crossed over to India before the retreat ceremony, while the remaining are expected to cross over tomorrow.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari has called for a report on the situation and civil society members agitated by reports of Hindus fleeing their country sought to mobilise support for them and petition the Supreme Court but this was of little consolation to a community which feels let down by the superior judiciary in the Rinkle Kumari case.
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