Refugees from West Pakistan on Thursday danced to the beats of dholak to celebrate the second anniversary of the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A which resulted in them gaining citizenship rights in Jammu and Kashmir.
Led by Pakistan Refugees Action Committee president Laba Ram Gandhi, men, women and children from the community converged on the border area and danced.
Speaking to ANI, Gandhi said, “August 5 has brought a new life for us. When parliament Article 370 and 35A. This happened because of the Prime Minister of India and the Home Ministry. I believe it was a historical day for West Pakistani refugees. In the last 73 years, our elders were struggling for the day when they will get the citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir and it came on August 5. That day we decided to celebrate August 5 every year. Not only us, but successive generations will also celebrate August 5 just like today.”
According to West Pakistan refugees, on this day they got the actual independence hence they celebrate this day as they celebrate 15 August.
“Earlier people used to hate us and call us West Pakistani refugees but now we are citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. We can now avail of the benefits of the government schemes of the Jammu and Kashmir government,” said Sukhdev Singh, a West Pakistan refugee.
While another refugee, Vicky Kumar said, “Firstly I would thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Ministry Amit Shah that they abrogated Article 370. Even before them, there were many political leaders who did not take any action against it and because of that we had suffered a lot. When our parents used to go for voting they were taken out from the queue saying ‘Pakistani’. All this has been ended now. We are happy.”