The Lok Sabha on Friday heard a strong demand for rehabilitation of people displaced from Pakistan, with members from several parties demanding granting them citizenship.
Participating in a private member's resolution on formulation of an action plan to rehabilitate persons displaced from Pakistan moved by Arjun Meghwal of the Bharatiya Janata Party), members said several families who have fled that country fearing persecution should be given rights in India.
Participating in the discussion on the resolution moved by him in August, Meghwal said while they were discriminated in Pakistan for being Hindus, they are dubbed as "Pakistanis" in India. "We discuss rights violations of Tibetans, Sri Lankan Tamils...we cannot term their plight as an internal matter of Pakistan...we will have to change this attitude," he said.
He said the issue of people displaced from Pakistan should be raised in international fora, including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
Meghwal demanded reduction in citizenship fee for Hindus from Pakistan and said district magistrates should be given the right to grant citizenship.
Madanlal Sharma of the Congress said most of the displaced people from Pakistan were living in Jammu and Kashmir for the past several years. "They are refugees in their own country," he said.
He said the Centre should put pressure on the Jammu and Kashmir government to favourably consider the problems of such people, as they have no rights to contest local elections though they can exercise their franchise in Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress is a partner in the Jammu and Kashmir government led by the National Conference.
BJP's Sumitra Mahajan said while India raises the issue of human rights violations of people living in various parts of the world, "but what about our own," she said referring to the displaced people. She claimed though Pakistan Imterior Minister Rahman Malik is in India, the issue was unlikely to be discussed.
Samajwadi Party's Shailendra Kumar said Pakistan should remember that its founding father M A Jinnah had assured protection to Hindus who had stayed back during Partition.