A former Pakistani MP who fled religious persecution in Pakistan and migrated to India after being pressurised to convert to Islam was delighted to learn that the Indian parliament has legislated the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 (CAB) that seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities in the neighbouring countries like himself.
In a report by Jagran, Divyaram, who was once an MP in Pakistan during the reign of Benazir Bhutto, and is currently earning his living in the Fatehpur district of Haryana by selling peanuts and kulfis has expressed hope and joy over the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill by the central government.
He said that the legislation of the CAB has given him and his family an opportunity to become legitimate citizens of India. After the passage of the bill, Divyaram is hopeful that his family would be able to secure a ration card and avail the subsidies and benefits provided by the government to its citizens.
Talking about his brief stint as the member of parliament in Pakistan, Divyaram revealed that during the Bhutto regime, he had given an approbatory speech welcoming Benazir Bhutto in his constituency. Impressed by his speech, Benazir made him a Member of Parliament through the reserve seats meant for minorities.
However, Divyaram laments that soon after he became an MP, disgruntled Muslims kidnapped a girl belonging to his family and threatened him to step down.
He further mentions that when the matter reached the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the SC judge asked him to either strike a compromise or convert his religion to put an end to the case. Following this, he tendered his resignation as MP and decided to migrate to India.
Divyaram, originally from Lahiya district of Punjab province of Pakistan, came to India with his family in January 2000 on a one-month visa. Initially, he lived in Kalanaur and Rohtak city of Rohtak district. When his visa expired, he appeared before the then Rohtak DC and pleaded that he and his family do not want to go to Pakistan under any circumstances.
At that time, members of Bajrang Dal and other Hindu organizations helped him in his rehabilitation. The Deputy Commissioner also allowed him to stay there. Later, in 2006, he moved from Rohtak to village Ratangarh near Ratia town of Fatehabad and is living there since last 13 years.
The 74-year-old Divyaram lives with his 12-member family. He also disclosed that he had to abandon his family-owned 25 bighas of land in Pakistan due to the harassment at the hands of the Muslim community and clerics. They would pressurize him into adopting Islam by asking him to consume beef. When he refused to embrace Islam, they started exploiting him.
Ever since Divyaram took refuge in India, he hoped that there would come a leader who would take cognisance of their pitiful situation and strive for their betterment. He is thankful to PM Modi that he brought the legislation for providing citizenship to thousands of persecuted minorities who fled their original country and are leading a difficult and uncertain life in India.