Pakistan–Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration


 

By: Our Staff Reporter | August 14, 2012 |The Nation
Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration

KARACHI – The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) and the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) have expressed serious concerns over growing insecurity among the Hindu population in Sindh, which is causing migration of hundreds of families from Sindh and Balochistan to India since many years.
In a joint statement, the PDSN representative Zulfiqar Shah, and PPC Secretary General B M Kutty said on Monday that both the federal and the provincial governments had failed to protect the lives, dignity and properties of the Hindu community and other vulnerable groups, which is creating unrest among a larger section of the population. The kidnapping for ransom, abduction and conversion of Hindu girls; growing lawlessness; forced encroachment of Hindus families properties; and growing violence against minorities in Sindh districts of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Kandhkot had become an everyday story now.
“We consider the ongoing development as highly unsatisfactory and a cause of great concern for all the citizens. According to the Constitution and international law, it is the responsibility of the state to protect lives and properties of all citizens without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the vulnerable religious groups face tougher social, religious and economic challenges to the extent that that leaving the country is the only option to save their lives,” the joint statement stated.
In Pakistan, religious minorities especially Hindus have to struggle with discrimination on religious basis while they face social exclusion and unabated violence in rural areas where feudal power elite exploit them socially, economically and politically. These feudal elites harass them and also encroach upon their properties.
Another powerful religious group which has the backing of political parties is busy in forcible conversation of Hindu girls after kidnapping them. These girls are forced to embrace Islam or she is threatened with dire consequences.
Recent incidents of Rinkal Kumari, Dr Asha and Manesha Kumari are some incidents of forcible conversion of Hindu girls. The families of these unfortunate girls are either considering leaving the country or move from their ancestor villages to other cities.
The PDSN and the PPC pointed out that local media has been reporting Hindu citizens’ migration to India for security reasons for the last many years but the state functionaries did not pay any heed to address the situation.
The recent national media reports of the migration of Hindu families from Jacobabad, in large numbers, has suddenly caught the attention of the state machinery that is spending more energies on covering the issue than addressing it. The FIA, under the directives of the Federal Interior Minister, reportedly forcibly stopped over 150 Hindus at the Wagah border in Lahore. They were coerced to sign an affidavit committing a return to Pakistan.
These types of pressure tactics are not only a violation of the right to free movement of citizens, they will never help the exodus of the Hindu community that receives little support from the state in terms of security and well-being. The PDSN and the PPC called for serious measures to address the grievances of the Hindu community and all the non-Muslim members of the state.

 

Hindu teen girl kidnapped in Pakistan #VAW #Minorityrights


 

 

Agencies : Islamabad , Thu Aug 09 2012

A 14-year-old Hindu girl has been kidnapped from Pakistan‘s Sindh province, triggering widespread concern among the minority community members and reports of their apparent exodus.

The teenage girl, Manisha Kumari, was kidnapped from Jacobabad in Sindh, which has a sizeable Hindu population, on Tuesday, Pakistan Hindu Council president Jethanand Doonger Mal Kohistani said today.

“Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has taken notice of the matter and asked provincial Minority Affairs Minister Mohan Lal to visit Jacobabad to look into the issue,” Kohistani said.

The kidnapping of the girl from Jacobabad and the abduction of 11 Hindu traders from Balochistan and Sindh provinces over the past few months has added to the community’s concerns, Kohistani said.

“There is sadness among Hindus as the law and order situation is deteriorating. Even Muslims have been affected by the deteriorating situation, it is not just the Hindus,” he said.

Though TV news channels claimed several Hindu families from Jacobabad had decided to migrate to India because of forced conversions, extortion and kidnapping, Kohistani and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan activist Amarnath Motumal said there was no evidence to substantiate these reports.

Babu Mahesh Lakhani, the head of a Hindu panchayat, had claimed several Hindu families had decided to migrate to India and others were planning to follow them as they felt insecure in Pakistan.

Some Hindu leaders even claimed 60 families had left for India and more families would cross via the Wagah border this week.

However, sources in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad said there were no reports of mass movements of Hindu families via Wagah.

Kohistani acknowledged that Hindus were facing pressure due to the poor law and order situation but said there was no exodus.

“The land of the Indus river is our motherland. Some people may be going to India on a pilgrimage or a private visit,” he said.

He added that police were not helping Hindus being targeted by criminal elements for extortion and kidnapping.

“Right now, three traders from Balochistan and eight more from Sindh are being held hostage. There are unconfirmed reports that one trader from Khuzdar (in Balochistan) may have been killed by his abductors,” he said.

Rights activist Motumal said he had conducted inquiries and found no proof of an exodus.

“I am not saying that the Hindu community is not being pressured in the interiors of Sindh but the reports that they are migrating to India in droves are not verifiable,” he said.

He said he had personally gone looking for people who claimed there was an exodus from Sindh but could not find any proof.

“There might be a few families where one member left for India to settle there and then asked other members to join him. These families are leaving due to existing problems but the numbers are not so high,” he said.

Officials said a group of Hindu families from Sindh and Balochistan is set to travel to India for a pilgrimage to Haridwar on 30 days’ visas. Some sections of the media wrongly projected it as an exodus, they said.

Motumal blamed “extremist religious groups” for pressuring members of the Hindu community in Sindh to convert to Islam.

“Businessmen are being targeted for extortion and kidnapping but the situation is such that no one – Shias, Sunnis, Hindus, Sindhis is safe,” he said.

Reports over the past two years have said that dozens of Hindu families from Balochistan and Sindh had moved to India after the community was targeted by criminals and militants.

Hindus have also been shaken by several high-profile cases of the kidnapping and alleged forced conversion of women.

Indian officials have acknowledged there was a trend of Pakistani Hindus extending their stay in India after entering on a valid visa.

 

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