Pakistani Rangers and BSF lower their respective country flags during daily parade in Pakistan India joint check post in Wagah border
Pakistani Rangers (in black) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) lower their respective country flags during the daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, on the outskirts of Lahore May 11, 2010. (A file photo)REUTERS

A new cadre of Pakistani Hindus, who reached India on board the Samjhauta express on Monday, opined that they would not return back to their home country for the safety of their lives.

After stepping down from the peace train, that connects the two warring neighbouring countries, some members of the families spoke to the media, saying that they were afraid for their lives as they are forced into religious conversions.

On Monday, around five to six Hindu families reached Attari railway station in Amritsar district of Punjab, and hinted their willingness to stay in India after seeing the atrocities in Pakistan.

One of the immigrants Mukesh Kumar Ahuja told reporters that "Things are so bad in Pakistan that we have decided that we will not return at all even though we have signed documents in Pakistan assuring authorities that we will return. We will request for asylum here. We have been forced to give up our established business there."

According to Ahuja, "forced religious conversations, kidnapping, harassing, murder and beating have become frequent for the Hindus."

"There are over 5,000 Hindu families in Pakistan who are waiting to come to India but the authorities over there are holding them," Ahuja said. He also said that one of his relatives was abducted and was killed for failing to meet the ransom demands posed by the kidnappers.

Several others who arrived also said that they wished to settle down in the country. "Even though the Pakistan authorities have set up a commission for the Hindu families to stop their exodus, things are so bad that Hindus just want to leave Pakistan. When the Hindus take a visa for India and come to the border, they are being forced to sign documents promising to return to Pakistan," News agency IANS quoted a harried Pakistani Hindu, who did not wish to be identified.

Last week, over 250 Hindus arrived in India through the Wagah-Attari land border check-post. While entering the India border, they were detained for several hours by Pakistan authorities and were allowed to proceed only after signing documents saying that would return to Pakistan after their 33-day pilgrimage.

The families that arrived from Pakistan are on a 30 day visa and their belongings include household and kitchen items.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday had asked the government to rehabilitate the Hindus who have arrived in the country seeking asylum.

On Monday, senior party leader and deputy leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that the situation of Pakistani Hindus is quite similar to that in 1947 when refugees had fled from both Pakistan and India after the Partition.

"The Hindu refugees have come here because they have been persecuted. Specially, women were under serious threat," news agency IANS quoted Prasad as saying.

"There are well known UN Conventions which talk about rehabilitation of refugees...the Indian government should rehabilitate them," he said.