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Apr 09, 2013 at 09:16am IST

Pakistani Hindus seek refuge in India, refuse to return

New Delhi: Rising extremism in Pakistan is forcing Hindu families to flee the country and seek refuge in India. Their visas have expired, but the refugees are too scared to return. The Ministry of External Affairs has given them an extension of one month, but the question is whether that is enough.

It's a visa deadline that 20-year-old Jamuna says could turn into a death sentence for her. "I will die in India but will not return to Pakistan," Jamuna said.

Jamuna is an exception here who has been at a shelter since November 2011 when her tourist visa expired. Currently, there are more than 450 Pakistani citizens living in the building whose visas expired just on Monday.

Gone a miss in their own country they are yet to be heard by the Indian government. Caretaker Nahar Singh said, "I have written to the President's office, MEA and UN, but no one has responded yet."

The Hindus constituted 22 per cent of the Pakistani population in 1951. Today, their share is down to less than 2 per cent with a majority of Hindu families living in the Sindh region.

Pakistan is home to world's fifth largest Hindu population in the world but their fast shrinking numbers as these people take refuge in India is a reflection of the challenges they face as a minority in that country.

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