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Pakistani government ‘confiscates’ passports of visiting Hindu jatha

Pakistani government ‘confiscates’ passports of visiting Hindu jatha

ATTARI: Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) officials ‘confiscated’ the passport of Hindu pilgrims as soon as they entered Pakistan on March 8th and didn’t allow them to meet Hindus of Pakistan during their 6 days pilgrimage to Katasraj in Pakistan where they had gone to celebrate Shivratri. The 88 member jatha of Hindu pilgrims arrived back via Attari land border on Wednesday.

Talking to TOI resident of Kurukshetra JJ Bhardwaj said that “Pakistan government took passports of all the pilgrims as we reached there on March 8th and kept an eye on us”. He said it was like being put in a open fort during their pilgrimage. He said the Indian Hindus were not allowed to mingle with the Pak Hindus. “However a few Pakistani Hindus met us but they were scared and informed us that they were discriminated on basis of their religion.” Bhardwaj expressed satisfaction over the ongoing development work of cluster of temples in Katasraj.

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Another pilgrim Parveen Kumar said, “Indian government never take passports of Pakistani pilgrims or delegations when they reach India then why they were humiliated by Pakistan government.”

He said ETPB officials only allowed Hindu Jatha members from India to meet a couple of Hindus who were either their employees or priest of Krishna Temple in Lahore. Another devotee SP Bajaj said that ETPB had made satisfactory arrangements for the devotees. He said according to revenue records there were 192 temples. Most of the idols in the Hindu temples were plundered during 1947 Indo-Pak partition.

Meanwhile, three Hindu families of Pakistan arrived India to settle here permanently. They pleaded not to give their names in media fearing harassment of their remaining relatives or other Hindus living in Pakistan. Head of a family told TOI that Hindus were not safe in Pakistan especially those living in border areas with Afghanistan. “Pakistan government has failed to protect us which in turn encourage Mullaha’s and anti social elements who kidnap us, abduct our daughters and collect jajia,” he said.

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