Pakistani Hindus flee to India claiming persecution
JAIPUR, India (AFP) - A group of 170 Hindus from Pakistan who travelled to India on pilgrim visas have said they will not return home due to alleged persecution in the Islamic republic.
Officials in the western Indian state of Rajasthan have reported an increase in Hindu refugees, but Pakistani authorities say the numbers are exaggerated and those who leave are economic migrants seeking better jobs.
The latest group from Pakistan's Sindh province arrived in the desert city of Jodhpur at the weekend, and have appealed for help from the Indian government.
"Hindus are suffering social and religious persecution in Pakistan," Mr Chetan Ram, 39, the group's leader, told AFP on Tuesday. "My wife, mother and family are with me and we will not return to Pakistan whatever the living conditions are in India." Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met with some of the group and promised to seek assistance from national authorities.