‘CAA gave us hope’: Pak refugee rejoices after getting citizenship | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘CAA gave us hope’: Pak refugee rejoices after getting citizenship

ByNeeraj Chauhan
May 16, 2024 09:20 AM IST

Seetal Das, hailing from the Sindh region of Pakistan, was a victim of religious persecution, and was forced to leave his motherland.

Seetal Das, a Pakistani refugee, lived his decade-old dream of becoming a citizen of India when he received his citizenship certificate from the government on Wednesday. The 38-year-old said he will always remember May 15 as the day when he got freedom from the status of being a “refugee”.

Seetal Das
Seetal Das

“Although I had been living here since 2013, today I feel I belong to this country. I can now freely call it my own and roam anywhere without any fear,” said Das in an elated voice.

Das, hailing from the Sindh region of Pakistan, was a victim of religious persecution, and was forced to leave his motherland. “We lost our land, house, shops and even personal belongings. We were literally left with nothing. We had to leave and take refuge in India. And when CAA was announced and passed in 2019, it gave us hope and we were eagerly waiting for it to be implemented.”

Even after the citizenship amendment act (CAA) was passed in December, Das and his family had to wait for more than four years as the ministry of home affairs (MHA) finally released the rules in March this year.

Seventeen members of Das’s family, all of them living at the refugee camp in Majnu Ka Tila and doing odd jobs like running mobile cover shops, had applied for citizenship under the new law in March.

He, along with his nephews Jhula Ram (28) and Harish Kumar (22), was among 14 individuals who received their citizenship certificates from Union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla at a ceremony on Wednesday.

Das hopes that other members of his joint family will receive their documents soon.

“I believe the citizenship certificates of my other family members and hundreds of those living here at Majnu Ka Tila refugee camp will also arrive soon. In fact, there are so many people still stuck in Sindh who are tortured because of their religion. I hope the Indian government will get them to safety as well,” Das said.

The citizenship certificate will allow Das and other family members to get access to documents such as Aadhaar cards, ration cards, driving licences, etc.

“I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah for giving me this opportunity to have a life of dignity through citizenship. I am now eligible for everything that any other Indian citizen is,” Das said.

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