`Hindus in Pakistan angry, helpless’

April 10th, 2012 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Hindus in Pakistan are feeling “angry and helpless” after being targeted in a spate of incidents, including abductions and forced conversion of girls, says a leading rights activist and a Hindu leader.

“The Hindu community is not afraid…rather they feel helpless and angry,” Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told IANS on phone from Islamabad.

She said there is “forcible conversion of young Hindu women” and kidnapping for ransom in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

“A case of forced conversion went right up to the Supreme Court where the young woman said she wanted to go back with her family,” she added.

The human rights activist said Hindus are now demanding a legislation to end conversions.

According to an estimate, Hindus constitute around 5.5 percent of Pakistan’s over 170 million people. Of them, over 90 percent live in Sindh while the rest are distributed in Punjab and Balochistan.

Some political parties and Hindu groups in Pakistan are upset over the kidnapping and conversion of Hindu girls in Sindh province and have taken to the streets.

The Human Rights Club, Young Hindu Forum, Minority Commission of Pakistan, Awami Jamhoori Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Hindu Council held a demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club Sunday.

They alleged that a Hindu girl, Rinkal Kumari of Mirpur Mathelo town, was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Another girl, Asha Kumari, was kidnapped from Jacobabad about a month back.

Pakistan Hindu Council patron Ramesh Kumar Vankwani told IANS on phone from Karachi that the environment is “unsafe” for Hindus.

“Crimes against Hindus have gone up,” he said.

He said Gangaram Motiani, a Hindu and president of the Hinglaj Mata Shewa Mandli, was kidnapped in Bela area of Balochistan April 6. The incident took place ahead of one of the largest annual Hindu gatherings at the Hinglaj Mata temple.

Vankwani noted the problem has intensified since 2007.

“Every year, we get about 50 reports of Hindu girls being converted,” he said and demanded a law to stop the forced conversions.

Hindus in Pakistan are facing a tough time.

Lakki Chand Garji, 82, who is the ‘maharaja’ of the Kali Mata Mandir in Kalat town of Balochistan province and considered one of Pakistan’s most revered Hindu spiritual leaders, was kidnapped by a gang of armed men Dec 21, 2010.

Traders from the Hindu community have been targeted by kidnapping gangs. Three Hindu traders have been killed during attempted kidnappings in and around Quetta during the past three years.

In Pakistan’s Sindh province in November last year, three Hindu doctor brothers — Ajit Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Naresh Kumar — were gunned down.

Ram Singh Sodho, who was elected to the Sindh assembly in 2008 on a Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) reserved seat for minorities, fled to India and sent in his resignation to assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khoro, it was reported last year.

(Rahul Dass can be contacted at rahul.d@ians.in)

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