Published: 04th January 2020
Meet this Pakistani Hindu refugee, who will write the Rajasthan Board Class XII exam this year
Dami Kohli's family migrated from Pakistan's Mirpur to Jodhpur in Rajasthan in early 2018. She had completed her class X then
Dami Kohli doesn't remember the exact date in which her family decided to live in India. She tells us that one day, right after she completed her Class X, she boarded a train with her parents from Mirpur in Pakistan to Jodhpur, to meet her brothers, who had migrated a few months back.
Close to two years later, this 18-year-old now says that she doesn't want to go back to Pakistan. "I love it here in India. I can go out whenever I want, even alone. There are no restrictions, unlike Pakistan," she says. Recently, the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education permitted her to write the class XII board examination in India. This was a result of months of battle with the authorities. "If all goes well, I want to study to become a doctor," she says.
Hailing from a Pakistani Hindu family, Dami doesn't know if her family was facing threats of persecution in her home country. "I don't know the reason why we came to India. Only my parents would know why. They were both unemployed back in Pakistan," she says. Dami has six brothers and two sisters. Two of her brothers are still in Pakistan. "We didn't have enough money to bring everyone to India. I hope that they too come here soon," she says.
Recalling her life in Mirpur, Dami says, "There, I was forced to always wear a purdah. I could not imagine going out alone. My father would take me to school every day." She admits to not reading newspapers and says that she doesn't know what the Citizenship Amendment Act is. "I heard a few people say that the bill was passed. This sounds like a wonderful thing. Now we can be Indian citizens soon," she says.
Dami stays in a refugee camp in Jodhpur, run by an NGO Universal Just Action Society. While she used to be the only Pakistani National in her school until last year, two of her cousins recently joined her.