CSF calls on PM to aid Pak Hindus, Sikhs and minorities

December 11, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

The CSF marks World Human Rights Day with memo to PM on plight of minorities in Pakistan
Consulates need to be re-opened & Pak government intervention sought
Call for Refugee status to Hindus and Sikhs migrating from Pakistan
Will represent the case with UN, Amnesty and other agencies
Less strict Visa regulations and reduction in exorbitant fees

CSF calls on PM to aid Pak Hindus, Sikhs and minoritiesMumbai, December 9, 2012: To mark World Human Rights Day, the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) sent a memorandum to the prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention on the persecution of minorities in Pakistan. The most grievously affected being Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. ‘ India should be most concerned because the Hindu and Sikh communities have been victims of partition and hence their return to India, if they so wish, must be facilitated ‘, said Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary. According to him, ‘ there are 3.5 million Hindus in Pakistan and the number of those fleeing that nation is increasing. And after coming to India, their plight is pathetic, not even being recognized as refugees. The CSF receives regular reports of many Pakistani minority citizens, especially Hindus and Sikhs who are persecuted for their faith. The women are raped, abducted, converted, while the men are killed, beaten, robbed, threatened and their property taken away ‘.

The CSF pleaded with the prime minister not to consider the manner in which at least, Hindus and Sikhs are treated in Pakistan, especially since before Partition, they were Indians and both the religions are Indian faiths. Hence, it cannot be an internal matter of Pakistan and India is duty bound to intervene. The CSF general secretary pointed out that those seeking to migrate from Pakistan face innumerable hurdles at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) which must be eased. It is reported that 3,500 Hindu families who migrated to Jammu in 1947 but have still not been accepted as Indians. They now number more than 100,000 families believed to be in India.

Only 26 out of the 428 Hindu temples are functional now due to migration of Hindus to India after independence in 1947. Hundreds of families from Pakistan, who have settled down in states like Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat report that Hindus, who accounted for 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population in 1947, now constitute a mere 2 per cent of its 170 million population. Many have migrated, others have been killed, and yet others forced to convert to survive. In some cases, the dead have even been denied a proper cremation.

Media reports of one Meher Chand, who arrived in Delhi on January 21, 2011, with a delegation of Pakistani Hindus, carrying 135 plastic jars, aboard the Samjhauta Express. The jars contained the ashes of Hindus who had died in Pakistan, some of them way back in the 1950s, and stored in Karachi’s Hindu Cremation Ground. The remains were finally allowed their final journey, to be scattered in the Ganga.

Joseph Dias said that ‘ the Indian government needs to have a two pronged strategy, of speedy refugee status and rehab in India and on the other hand seeking action from Pakistan to protect its minorities. Some have been here since the 1990s and have still not got citizenship and accompanying conveniences like a ration card, driving licence, gas connection, right to buy property and even travelling to another part of the country, other than the one place their visa permits ‘.

The CSF calls for visa rules and exorbitant fees to be made less severe and long term visas issued, if not citizenship.In reply to a question in Parliament on 28 March 2012, the MoS in MHA M. Ramachandran said that they had received 148 applications for citizenship of Pakistani Hindus from Punjab state from 2009 to 2011. Only 16 applications were accepted for citizenship; 119 are pending for want of documents and 13 were rejected.

Joseph Dias points out that ‘ the Nehru-Liaquat Ali Pact signed in April 1950 after Pakistan was born gave the Indian government a locus standi for looking after the welfare of the Hindus and Sikhs all over Pakistan and the Indian government must use this diplomatic tool to protect them ‘. He called for opening up of consulates in Pakistan to facilitate immigration and political asylum needs also to be considered, especially for those fighting for survival in that country.

It may be recollected that the Indian government had taken up with the US authorities, the racial and unprovoked attack on Wisconsin Gurdwara and should do so similarly with Pakistan seeking its intervention. The CSF also expressed surprise that the UN or agencies like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had ignored the violation of human rights of minorities, especially Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. Joseph Dias said, the group work on this score too

– press release

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.