Amritsar (Punjab) [India], September 5 (ANI): After a long wait, as many as 98 Pakistani Hindus, who came to India on a pilgrimage about one and a half years ago and got stranded due to COVID-19 restrictions, returned via Attari-Wagah in Punjab's Amritsar on Sunday.
Among them was a family in which a baby girl was born in May this year in India, police protocol officer Arunpal Singh told ANI.
He further informed that after seeking a series of permissions, the Pakistani Hindus were scheduled to return on September 3, but were denied final permission from the immigration office as they did not possess a negative RT-PCR report.
"Pakistani nationals came to India about 1.5 years ago for undertaking pilgrimage at various sites across India. They had been stranded in the country due to lockdown. All of them had submitted letter to the embassy to return to Pakistan and were granted permission. On September 3, they reached Amritsar from Jodhpur (in Rajasthan) but did not have COVID test report," he said.
The protocol officer further said that these Pakistani nationals stayed at Durgiana Temple for two days.
"The baby girl, who was born in the country, did not have a passport, which posed another challenge. Her passport was then made here," said Singh.
Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar took notice of the situation and helped people get their COVID test done before they departed to their nation.
Several Pakistani Hindus expressed gratitude to the government for aiding their return to Pakistan.
"We came to India to visit Haridwar (in Uttarakhand) last year but could not go back due to COVID-induced lockdown. We stayed in Jodhpur. We thank the government of India for facilitating our COVID tests," said Wazir, a Pakistani national.
Bhola ji, another Pakistani national to whom the girl was born, said, "The administration helped us make a passport of my child also. DC Amritsar had given us shelter at the temple. He gave us money as well. My heartfelt thanks to him and the Indian government."
"Today we are elated that we are returning to our home. I express gratitude to the government and others from the bottom of my heart," said Kajal before boarding the bus to the border.
Keval Ram, another Pakistani citizen, had a grin on her face as she expressed her happiness at returning to her home country.
"I am absolutely happy. The government has supported us. With folded hands, I extend many thanks to the government," she said. (ANI)