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As the world observes the International Migration Day on December 18, these Hindu migrants are facing major hardships in making their ends meet. They have no work permit; their settlement is unhygienic; and the officials of the local authorities are somewhat hostile, they allege. There’s no way they can get their children admitted in schools, “for lack of proper papers”.
While the migrants from Syria have been welcomed in Germany, Canada and other parts of the world, these migrants from India’s neighbouring country are living in sub-human conditions. So, they are now looking to the Indian Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hoping that they would be granted work permits so that they can earn and live peacefully in Delhi.
Dharamveer Bagari, who arrived from Pakistan in March of 2013, says India is a “paradise” compared to Pakistan. “But, we are forced to live in unhygienic and inhumane conditions here as we don’t get any help from the government,” he rues.
The rickety bamboo huts have no doors; the NDMC water tank is the only source of water for these migrants. Not enough to sustain the lives of 400 helpless human beings. And to make matters even more difficult, none of them have any job to support their families. “We are unemployed and have no jobs. We applied to the government for the work permits, but we haven’t got any help yet,” Bagari tells thestatesman.com.
So what do they do to eke out a living? “Few people take out their thellas to sell fruits or vegetables on the streets, but the MCD officials or police seize their items, saying that we don’t have the work visa,” Bagari laments.
Their plight is echoed by 105-year old, Ran Singh. “My son is unemployed. As a helper, he can earn anything between Rs.50-100 every day,” he says. “But he didn’t go out for the last eight days as few people snatched his items and refused to return,” Singh says with tears in his eyes. “He has borrowed Rs.1,000 from a local man. But with his items snatched, my son cannot refund the amount.”
Specifying their requirements, Bagari says: “Give us the work permit to earn our livelihood. And till the time we are not granted the work permit, the municipal corporation officials should not seize our items if we sell anything in the market.”
Settlement resident Laxmanji adds: “As we are fruit and vegetable growers, we should be given 15 acres of waste land near Yamuna on lease which we can cultivate to earn livelihood.”
While the seniors worry about livelihood, life is uncertain for the youngsters too. Children here find it difficult to seek admission in the educational institutions. “Our children don’t get admissions in the schools as the principal says that we don’t have papers,” says Bagari.
Courtesy: The Statesman, Kolkata.