Diwali has brought double bonanza for over 200 Hindus from Pakistan. The third generation of these Hindus first time celebrated Diwali without any fear and with all festivities, which they were missing during all these years.
As this was not enough, district administration had informed them only a day earlier that the Government of India had agreed to give them long-term visa to allow them to stay in the country.
Scenes at Gangana where these Hindus have been living in camps for the past two and half months after arriving here on pilgrim visa from Mityari region of Sindh in Pakistan, filled with joy and satisfaction.
As most of them belong to SC community and were daily-wage earners, local organisations, including Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Seemant Lok Sanghthan (SLS), arranged new clothes for the group, which had about 40 women and about two dozen children. They were also provided with plenty of crackers, which they kept bursting till late in the night.
According to Naryan Das of VHP, they were so happy that they kept chanting ‘Jai Siya Ram’ during the celebrations. They also held Laksmi Puja with the help of a priest. Local Dali by temple is the rallying point of Hindus coming from Pakistan. The temple is maintained by Meghwal, an SC community, and it looks after in temple affairs for their initial stay in the complex.
“On Dhanteras, almost entire group of over 200 these Pakistani Hindus had assembled in the temple to hold a community prayers.
Dressed up in their best, each of woman in the group ensured that she is held a diya in her hand. “As a child I had seen my grandmother, along with some relatives, offering such prayer collectively,” says Chetan Das, leader of the group.
A sarpanch in his village Chetan Das made the intention of the group very clear after reaching here in first week of September. “Though we have come on one-month pilgrim visa, would not return to Pakistan, because of continued suppression of Hindus there.”
He along with others had sent a letter to the Government to grant them Indian citizenship or a permanent visa to felicitate their stay here.
On day of Diwali, Hindu families in the areas would lit diyas within premises of their houses and not its front and on roofs as customary during Diwali. Bursting crackers mean to invite trouble as they would be targeted by local Muslims, says Chetan Das.
Young girls also celebrated Bhaiya Dooj on Thursday. “We have inquired from the priest about Bhaiya Dooj, about which we had not heard, while living in Pakistan,” says Dagli, a woman in the group.