She fled to Gujarat from Sindh, Pakistan, in 1990 when she was just a 13-year-old. She then struggled for Indian citizenship for decades but to no avail, until the Narendra Modi government came to power.
Dimple Virandani, who’s now 41, finally got Indian citizenship after Narendra Modi came to power. Glad that the BJP-led NDA listens to the pleas of Hindus living in neighbouring countries, Dimple has joined the BJP before the Gujarat polls. She categorically states that the Congress-led UPA didn’t care for Hindus who flee neighbouring countries.
“PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government in 2015 made key amendments which have helped Hindu minorities who have fled to India+ from neighbouring countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh that ended their decades long struggle to apply and get Indian citizenship with greater ease. This government listens”,she says. Dimple now runs an NGO – Helping Hands – to enable Hindu migrants from Pakistan to apply for Long Term Visa and citizenship.
She describes how the Modi government had set up a special task force and the home ministry had organized camps at district levels to expedite citizenship and LTV process for Pakistani Hindus living in India.
“I was told by the Consulate General of India that I will qualify for applying for Indian citizenship after five years of marriage. Later, when I went, I was told rules had changed to seven years. Later, despite seven years of marriage and visit to India once a year, my claim was rejected by the UPA regime citing fewer visits to India.The same application was accepted by administration under NDA regime in 2016,”says Dimple. She insists nobody can imagine her frustration as her parents and siblings had got Indian citizenship in 2002 while her husband and two children were all Indian citizens except her that there are 10,000-odd Pakistani Hindu migrants in Ahmedabad itself.
Highlighting the fact that there are around 10,000 Pakistani Hindu migrants living in Ahmedabad itself, she says they feel safe in the rule of BJP.
“Most of the families, especially the poor, flee Pakistan as their lives and their daughters’ honours are not safe there,” says Dimple, adding that development done by the BJP will help it win 2017 polls despite a caste divide.