Photos & text: Shib Shankar Chatterjee
In Delhi, around January 2016, a group of 40-50 Pakistani Hindu refugees took shelter near the forest area of the Bhati Mines, situated right behind the Sanjay Gandhi Colony in the southern part of Delhi. Local people refer to the camp as the Pakistani mohalla. Living in hutments or tents, the refugees are passing the days of their lives in pathetic conditions, hoping that things would someday improve. Most of them work in various adjacent areas either as daily wage labourers or as construction workers to earn their living.
The government of India, in April, 2016, asserted that it proposes to simplify procedures for grant of Indian citizenship to such refugees. The proposal also foresees permitting “minority communities of Pakistan, who have been staying in India on a ‘Long Term Visa’ to buy property, open bank accounts, obtain permanent account number (PAN) and Aadhaar number”. The question is, how long will this process take, and how long can these people continue to live as citizens without a state?