Hindu Singh Sodha, is a well-known activist for the cause of Pakistani Refugees in India. He resides in Jodhpur Rajasthan but travels for most of the time meeting refugees. He is the founder of Pak Vishthapit Sangh, Seemant Lok Sangathan and Universal Just Action Society – UJAS Source: en.wikipedia.org
Where were you when you heard this news?
As soon as I heard this tragic news I rushed to the spot with my team, its 2.5 hours of drive (150km), 5km rural road. I was present at the mortuary when bodies were taken out for final cremation, attended it and finally returned back in evening.
In mainstream newspapers, it shows family dispute and Laxmi (Kevalram’s sister) as the one who administered poisonous injections – is this a group suicide by the family?
Laxmi was kept captive at her brothers (Kevalram) in laws. She might have experience some exploitation. When Laxmi visits Mandor area Police station and tries to log her complain, the police makes her sit for a very long time and didn’t register a case, as preliminary inquiry wasn’t completed. Laxmi was a nurse and she was a bold and brave heart. Her former employer, a doctor, who is also from Bheel community told me that he can’t image that Laxmi can ever commit suicide. Police did round up some people but some rich person got suspected persons released. That may her made Laxmi very upset and led to such drastic act. However, there may be a possibly of foul play, this is because why Laxmi will deliver injection to her sisters children who were visiting the family.
Did you talk with Kevalram (the sole survivor)?
Yes, I called him. Kevalram said they had dinner together and there were normal talks, nothing serious. If there was a case of food poisoning, then Kevalram would have died too. Kevalram said that he left after the dinner, to go into the fields to protect from Nilgay (blue bull). He climbed on water tank and went to sleep. He said he didn’t hear any scream or help voice. I still don’t understand why Laxmi will ever kill her sister’s children; they were of no fault and why they were made part of this group suicide, there was no legitimate motive. I am still inquiring the case with nearby villages,
It’s still an open question where they themselves took poison injections or someone from outside administered them. That’s why I demand a high power, independent and fair inquiry.
Did you notice marks of injections on bodies?
Yes, all dead bodies had injection marks on arms and legs.
Do you believe that Laxmi was sexually exploited by her in laws during captivity?
Yes, there is high probability for this.
Were these people who died having Indian citizenship or were in a process to get it?
They were all migrants and were in a process of getting Indian citizenship, they weren’t Indian citizens. They arrived in India in 2015 July from Sanger Dist. Pakistan, Shehzadpur Taluka.
What is your assessment of main reason being the deaths of 12 Pakistani Hindu refugees?
There are two possibilities, one possibility is suicide and another is foul play, where someone has murdered these 11 refugees and later tried to project it as suicide. I was satisfied that these brave Hindus arrived in India to safeguard Hindu identity. Nowadays more than 90% of the Hindus arriving in India are from tribal community either from Bheel community or Meghwals (Dalit’s). I honor them for their courage that left Pakistan to safeguard their Hindu identity. How can such brave and courageous people commit suicide?
What other factors are contributing to the stress of Pakistani Hindu refugees?
It takes approx. twenty long years to get Indian citizenship, once these refugees arrives in India, the FRO office (Foreign registration office) issues short term and long term visas. In these long twenty years he faces challenges from education of children to job to buying property. Both state and central governments haven’t made any mechanism to cater this requirement. These migrants come to India with a hope and happy thoughts that since we are going to India, we will enjoy equal rights and live fully.
Unfortunately, there is a nexus has been developed. In the Nexus there are Brokers (Dalals), few Police and FRO officers.
First, economic exploitation: There are brokers (within Pakistani Hindu refugee community who are either citizens or in to be citizenship process pipeline) have been created to serve the agency (Govt. agencies); this is a generic modus operandi. Agents job is to transfer money from the refugees to the agency to get various immigration work done.
Those who come on visitor face less exploitation , however who come on religious visas face aggravated exploitation e.g. as soon as they arrive on religious Visa’s these brokers will surround them and force them to the visit Hindu holy places like Haridwar (Holy Ganges river) by constantly harassing them in the name of Hinduism. When Hindu refugees refuses or say that arrival in India is itself is a holy event for them, these brokers further harass them in the name of Hinduism and push them into buses lined up for such Hindu holy cities. These brokers charge Rs. 10000 (Indian currency) from each Pakistani Hindu refugee and on an average for a group of 50 people, they pocket Rs. 500,000 (5 Lakh), moreover such actions are done under police presence and protection. These brokers also pay the local police for facilitating these acts.
Second is Social exploitation, for example, there was a case when a minor was raped. When the father of the minor girl tried to approach police. The Nexus got insecure and feared exposure, these brokers approached the family and said that start pleading not to act in the overall good of their clan, two people came and visited the family and threatened them that if they file complain they will be outcast from the group and boycotted. They say that though police and court will prosecute and punish the guilty, however you have to live within the society and for that make sure you don’t file any complain.
Third is the sexual exploitation. Many ladies and girls are sexually exploited and are threatened with dire consequences if they open up. The case of Laxmi is third category, i.e. she was sexually exploited and humiliated. The agency failed to comfort her.
There is no mechanism to stop these three types of exploitation. Example UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, helps international refugees with food, education and health of refugees around the world. That helps prevent above three types of exploitation. Such provisions and help is neither provided by state governments nor central in India. In the absence of such provisions, these migrants often fall victim to brokers (Dalals), who start torturing them from the hour they arrive in India from train. Over an average twenty years (total turnaround time for citizenship), a refugee family faces economic, social and sexual exploitations.
What is the solution to stop such exploitations?
If there is an inquiry by CBI or high court retired Judge on such cases and overall crimes and incidents against Pakistan Hindu refugees in India. There will be a massive exposure to the Nexus, followed by reformative corrective mechanisms can be implemented by state and central governments. Nobody should have the courage to exploit the incoming migrants who come to India with good hopes. When Govt. can initiate CBI inquiry for Sushant Singh Rajput, why can’t CBI inquire these deaths of 11 Hindu Bheel community members.
Any closing remarks?
One has to understand the phycology of Pakistani Hindu migrants who arrive in India, many are from divided, few family members remain in Pakistan, few are here i.e. many family members are here and there – there is constant pain of divided family. When they arrive here, they face insecure in the face of above evil nexus and in the absence of any organized mechanism and integrated framework to live a life of dignity. If this is the case, there must be so much heavy physiological pressures on Laxmi which led to this tragic incident. She should have never experienced this in India.
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