Pastor Detained over complaint of attempt to forced conversion in MP *Hindus leaving homeland amid security fears

March 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-lead, Pakistan, Persecution

Madhya Pradesh, March 21, 2012: Police detained Pastor Neeraj Kumar Simpson in Dindori police station under the Dindori district in Madhya Pradesh. He had come from Delhi to take part in a house warming ceremony of Kisan Patakar.

Pastor Simpson said, “I had come from Delhi to take part in a house warming ceremony in the village of a poor Christian who got a hose under the Indira Avas Yojan. We were a small number of persons around twenty for prayers. As soon as we started the prayer meeting a group of people belonging to VHP and Bajrang Dal barged into our prayer meeting accused me of forced conversion.” He said, “Soon I was taken by police for interrogation. They detained me till evening when pressure began to build up on them; they reached me out of the district with police security.”

Dindori district is situated in the midst of forest surrounded area. He was taken by police in the morning but only by evening the news reached Bhopal. When the IMS office bearers talked to the district S P, Purushotam Sharma and Station Incharge Vinod Duey denied having detained the pastor they said that he has been taken to police station for questioning. Station Incharge said, “ we have received complaint that they were trying to conversion, so we are trying to investigate the incident. We are not trying to harass anybody.”

Bajan Singh Patta, district secretary of Isai Mahasnagh, (IMS) who coordinated the matter with the Head Quarter of IMS in Bhopal, said, “it looks that the taxi driver who was from Dindori district may have engineered the incident.”  He said that they brought an unidentified person from some other village to say that the pastors told him to get converted into Christianity. It is clear case of implicating people falsely.”

IMS State General Secretary, Jerry Paul said, “in the recent times such incidents are increasing in Madhya Pradesh.  A few days back a delegation led by Fr. Anand Muttungal had called on the New Director General of Police Nandan Dube. We have brought to his notice that after his taking charge in the past one month incidents of violence against Christians have increased. The former DGP had made sure incidents are controlled.”

It is to be noted that in the recent times in Bethul district also had a similar incident where in pastor was kept in jail for four days. On 20 March,  IMS Bethul district president Dr. Mohan Babru had taken out rally to collectorate and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Governor of Madhya Pradesh. He said we have asked the administration to provide security to Christians in the district.

Mean while Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio  has said that we will be taking up this matter with the state administration. We will repeat our demand for security and justice to Christians.

Sanjay Ekka

Reporter CSF, Bhopal

Hindus leaving homeland amid security fears


Children celebrate Holi in KarachiPakistan, March 16, 2012: Having lived in Sindh for centuries, Hindus are migrating because of forced conversions, murders and abductions for ransom

In 2010, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that at least 25 Hindu girls are abducted and converted by force in Pakistan every month.

“Every time there’s a forced conversion, we hear of a love story and the usual court proceedings, but there’s no followup,” says Ram Kumar, a 63-year-old Hindu elder from Karachi.

Mohan Lal Harchandani, another Hindu leader, says his community has been living in Sindh for thousands of years. “Not only do we see Pakistan as our country, we work and pray for its prosperity,” he said.

But the community is concerned about its security. Hindus were 16 percent of Pakistan’s population in 1947, but have been reduced to 2 percent. In 1947, there were 428 functioning temples in the country. Now, there are only 26, according to Jamohan Kumar Arora from Rawalpindi. But the 3 million Hindus as per the 1998 census are still the largest religious minority in Pakistan. Most of them live in Karachi, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur regions of Sindh.

“You cannot understand how much we love this land,” said Ajeet Kumar. “We have been living here for millennia and are among its indigenous people. This is our land and its people are our people. We are Sindhis and have never discriminated on the basis of religion.”

“But due to the constant fear of abductions, we are leaving Pakistan and Sindh,” Ajeet Kumar said.

Last year, three Hindus – Naresh Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Ajeet Kumar – were gunned down in Shikarpur while a Hindu student’s mutilated body was found in Hyderabad.

Although the liberal Pakistan People’s Party is in power, Sindhi Hindus are still being murdered, abducted for ransom, or converted by force.

Thirty-seven Hindus from five families of Thul, a small town in Jacobabad district, have recently left for India for good, because of security concerns.

“It’s extremely sad that the Hindu families who have been living in the province for centuries are being forced to migrate from their motherland,” Pakistan Hindu Seva (PHS) President Sanjesh Kumar said. “The government is not providing them adequate security.”

Since 2008, more than 10 Sindhi Hindu families have been migrating to other countries every month. “The Hindus who migrate to India are not entirely happy, but they don’t have too many options,” he said.

“Eight to 10 Hindu families migrate from Pakistan to India every month,” said an official at the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi. “Most of them are well off.”

Earlier this month, thousands of Muslims in Sindh celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi. “We must integrate and understand other religions and celebrate their festivals to show solidarity with them,” said Muhammad Noman, a 24-year-old student who had organized one such event.

Murad, a Muslim from Lyari cleans the Hindu temple in the locality. “Islam is misunderstood. It has been hijacked by clerics,” he says. “Islam teaches peaceful coexistence and this is my jihad.”

Murad is also in charge of a 20-acre Hindu cremation ground since 1987. “I remember the time when I was a child. We never cared who was Hindu, Muslim or Christian.” Local Hindus call Murad ‘Rakhshak’, or guardian.

The recent case of the alleged forced conversion of a Hindu girl Rinkle Kumari has brought attention to the issue of forced conversions once again. “We all worship the same God,” says Murad. “Why convert someone by force? And convert them to what? If you convert someone by force, it is not Islam.”

– thefridaytimes

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