Doctor in Pakistan, Shoe Seller in India

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Ahmedabad: In 2001, Dashrath Kela, 38, started his career as a doctor with a monthly salary of Rs 25,000. Nine years later, he is a shop assistant at his cousin’s shoe store in Maninagar, earning Rs 15,000 a month.

Kela is an MBBS from Karachi University. He fled to Ahmedabad in 2006 fearing for the safety of his family. He can’t practice medicine here until he gets a certificate from the Medical Council of India (MCI). There are around 200 such Pakistani doctors in Gujarat – mostly from Sindh – who have the skill to heal but their hands are tied by red tape and uncertainty on citizenship.

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Without the MCI’s permission to practice, these doctors often work in pharmacies or even mobile repair shops – all for a pittance. Some also work the graveyard shift in hospitals offering their services as “charity” because they can’t be hired legally.

Most of the Pakistani doctors fled to Gujarat for safety. They say kidnapping of girls from the Hindu community settled there, as well as extortion by anti-social elements, was common place. A large Sindhi population in Ahmedabad made the relocation that much easier.

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