ASIA/PAKISTAN - Discrimination and violence against Hindu minorities

Monday, 7 November 2016 religious minorities   religious freedom   hinduism   islam   blasphemy   civil society  


Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - The Hindu population in Pakistan suffer due to discrimination and violence which often go unpunished: this is what Ashok Kumar Jay denounces, a Hindu activist for the rights of religious minorities, noting that in the country there is "an increase in violence based on faith that affects religious minorities, with forced conversions, murder, extortion, looting, kidnapping and abuse related to places of worship".
Faced with this situation, the Federal Minister for Human Rights, the Christian, Kamran Michael, reiterated in past days in Karachi that the federal government has to "ensure and protect the fundamental human rights of religious minorities".
In a note sent to Fides, the Hindu activists recall, among the lastest examples, the case of two young Hindus lynched for alleged blasphemy by a Muslim mob in Mirpur Mathelo, in Sindh province (southern Pakistan) last July. Kumar Satish Dewan, 17, died as a result of his injuries, while his friend Avinash is still in critical condition.
There are about two million Hindus in Pakistan. The note sent to Fides recalls that many of them are forced to pay regular sums to criminal gangs, as a sort of "bribe", in exchange for the physical safety of their families and themselves. Hindus are often denied skilled jobs and a Hindu citizen usually needs a Muslim as a partner, to carry out commercial or business activities.
In the past, many Hindu temples were destroyed, or converted into government offices. In 1992, many Hindu temples were attacked in Pakistan in response to attacks on Muslims in India, episodes in which Pakistani Hindus had played no role. The official promises to reconstruct these temples, in many cases, have not been kept. There are still episodes of "land grabbing" of land belonging to Hindus, harassment and kidnapping of Hindu girls, or false accusations of blasphemy, all abuses that regard Hindu and Christian minorities in Pakistan. In 1947, at the time of the partition from India, the Hindu population of Pakistan was between 15 and 24%. Now it stands at 1.6%. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/11/2016)