NEW DELHI: About 5,000 Bhovi Hindus, who came to India after fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan, will hold a march here on January 18 in support of the contentious CAA, community’s national president Venkatesh Maurya said on Monday. According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, to escape religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The persecuted Hindus will now get Indian citizenship because of the CAA. The support march will begin from Jantar Mantar and reach the BJP headquarters, Maurya said.
The Bhovi community, known by different names like Vaddara, Boyar and Ode across the country, is engaged in jobs like stone quarrying and breaking.
It belongs to the Scheduled Caste category in six states — Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. In the rest of the country, it is included under the categories of Other Backward Class or Most Backward Class.
“About 22 lakh people have migrated after partition and about 2,000 migrated in the last few years,” Maurya told reporters.
Many of them have got Indian citizenship. However, there are still thousands in Haryana and 2,000 in Delhi, especially in Sanjay Colony, who have not yet got citizenship, he said.
“The CAA will benefit them as they will get citizenship of India. The Bhovi community is happy with the move,” he said.
The community, however, needs support from the government for registration of houses once Delhi’s Sanjay Colony gets legalised, he added.
For the welfare of this community, the government should provide a free house and a job each to families from this community, Maurya said.
Narrating his ordeal, 74-year-old Divyaram, a former MP from Pakistan, said he came to India in 2000, leaving behind acres of land, to escape attempts to convert him and his relatives to Islam.
He said all limits were crossed when the daughter of one of his close relatives was kidnapped and police took no action in the matter.
Divyaram now stays in Haryana.
According to Maurya, there are about 3.50 crore Bhovi Hindus in India. Many of them live in south India. Those staying in north India are mostly migrants from Pakistan.