Minority rights: In shadow of insecurity, Hindus plan exodus

Published: September 25, 2012
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The migration plans surfaced after Indian authorities extended a soft corner to Pakistani migrants in Jodhpur. DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

The migration plans surfaced after Indian authorities extended a soft corner to Pakistani migrants in Jodhpur. DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

ISLAMABAD: 

Amid a mounting sense of insecurity, close to 1,000 families belonging to the country’s largest religious minority group, Hindus, plan to migrate to India — a step likely to raise more questions about Pakistan’s ability to protect its minorities.

A group of 171 Hindus has already crossed the border into India after a string of incidents — especially the contentious issue of forced conversions and marriages of Hindu girls.

Prominent Hindu leaders told The Express Tribune on Monday that their plan of migrating to India came at a time when several Hindu families in Jodhpur, a city in Rajasthan state, which shares a border with Sindh, expressed willingness to welcome the migrants.

“Migration tendency in the Hindu community is on the rise in Pakistan,” said the director of Hare Rama Foundation (HRF), a private organisation working for the rights of the scheduled caste of Hindus. “One thousand [Hindu] families have planned this migration,” claimed Ramesh Jaipal, who recently conducted a survey to study “Exodus of Hindus families… a reality?”

Their visas are under process and they are most likely migrating to India in October or November, he revealed.

The migration plans surfaced after Indian authorities extended a soft corner to Pakistani migrants in Jodhpur. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has reportedly assured his full support to Pakistani Hindu families seeking asylum in India.

Some 7,000 Pakistani migrants, living mostly in camps in Rajasthan, will be awarded Indian nationality if they are able to provide proper documentation, Indian media reports said.

A Hindu lawmaker, Manwer Lal, of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, also confirmed the migration of a number of families to India. He, however, rebutted that there was an exodus.

Around 65 Hindus families have migrated from Rahim Yar Khan and various areas of Sindh and Balochistan to India through the Attari border during the last three months, the HRF survey report claimed.

The key reason behind the planed migration from Rahim Yar Khan is said to be the abduction of a Hindu girl, Kiran Kumari, by four people belonging to the Mehar tribe, who are the followers of Pir Pagara, said Ramesh.

In the light of this development, the National Assembly’s standing committee on human rights chairman Riaz Fatiana has summoned a meeting on October 8 where representatives of the Hindu community will brief the panel. “We will ensure safety of all minorities. We will not let them to migrate. Hindus are [a part] of our homeland.”

MNA Nafisa Shah was unaware of any such move from any part of Sindh. According to her, Hindus have social and religious ties across the border just like Muslims do and they therefore are both visitors and tourists.  “Our religious minorities are not insecure,” she told The Express Tribune.

President Asif Ali Zardari has also constituted a committee to look into reports of the mass migration to India. Senator Maula Bux Chandio is presiding over the committee which will discuss issues related to persecution of minorities.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Arindom
    Sep 25, 2012 - 5:19AM

    sad…

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  • Pir Bulleh Shah
    Sep 25, 2012 - 5:45AM

    Why do these low caste Hindus want to go to India?! Islam offers them liberation. Why doesn’t someone tell them?

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  • a_writer
    Sep 25, 2012 - 6:11AM

    As sad and tragic as it sounds, every human being should have the right to hope for a better future. I hope Govt. of India rise up to the challenge and settle these 1000 families and help them to achieve a brighter future in India.

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  • Ajit Harisinghani
    Sep 25, 2012 - 6:48AM

    It is sad but unfortunately it is true that all minorities including Hindus are feeling so insecure and one can hardly blame them. They tolerated kidnappings and ransom payments but this forced abduction/conversion is what broke their back. But at least they’ve India’s support. What of the Christians and Ahmedis? India should take them all. They will make high-class citizens like the rest of their comunities in India.

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  • Raj
    Sep 25, 2012 - 7:13AM

    If you want to protect them, then set examples first. Find out the culprits of the alleged kidnap of Kiran Kumari and then prosecute them and if proven guilty then give exemplary punishments and publicize it properly across the Hindu communities to boost their confidence level. At the same time if the girl is really abducted then ensure a smooth transition back to her family. Arrange for necessary counseling by social scientists/NGOs in case her family is concerned with so called honour and dignity while taking back their daughter.

    That is the minimum you can do to regain some confidence.

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  • Ashif
    Sep 25, 2012 - 8:15AM

    @Pir Bulleh Shah:
    Good question. One that you need to ask yourself.

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  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 25, 2012 - 8:51AM

    welcome home.

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  • nitish
    Sep 25, 2012 - 8:52AM

    @Pir Bulleh Shah:will you be specific?

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  • vasan
    Sep 25, 2012 - 9:37AM

    Pir Bullah Shah : Islam offers “liberation” from the world. Nothing more. Atleast the hindus can plan to have a safe and secure life in India without fear of their daughters getting kidnapped for forced conversions etc. This must be the last straw on Jinnah’s back. He would have ran off his grave by now. Despicable country.

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  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 25, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @Pir Bulleh Shah:
    Its precisely because of people like you that they have been forced to migrate…..

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  • Jpy
    Sep 25, 2012 - 10:25AM

    @Pir Bulleh Shah:
    What liberation you mean? Forced conversion and getting married to old men? Living in fools paradise?

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  • Sep 25, 2012 - 11:54AM

    Let Hindus go to India. I hope they will get freedom there. But I’m upset to hear this.

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  • observer
    Sep 25, 2012 - 12:23PM

    A ‘secure’, ‘prosperous’ and ‘bright’ future is waiting for them in India. And a red carpet welcome of course!

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  • Sep 25, 2012 - 12:36PM

    @Pir Bulleh Shah:
    May be they find the low-caste status in India preferable to the `liberation´ they are imposed up on.

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  • unbeliever
    Sep 25, 2012 - 12:52PM

    maybe this could add to your knowledge:

    http://pakteahouse.net/2009/02/15/casteism-alive-and-well-in-pakistan/

    hinduism is bad, yet 1300 years later islam is yet to prove itself better than hinduism.

    http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/zQE8TPYjQ6MONiv7uv27tK/The-subcontinent8217s-Muslim-is-influenced-more-by-Hindui.html

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  • Iqbal
    Sep 25, 2012 - 1:05PM

    Independent research in the west proves that they will do much better then the muslims who have been persecuting them. Very soon all minorities will leave Pakistan and the country will have nothing to gloat about because it will be living in the stone age where it belongs. It will be confined to the medieval history.
    These hindus if they were to apply for asylum in UK then it would be granted immediately because they are cleverer and law abiding (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/feb/20/race.immigrationpolicy)

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  • Temur
    Sep 25, 2012 - 2:00PM

    If these people are being persecuted in interior Sindh then why are they not moving to other major cities like Karachi where their lives and properties will be secure?

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  • AK47
    Sep 25, 2012 - 2:08PM

    That’s just the beginning. Soon we will see Christians, Ahmedis, Shias and Bohris leaving this country as well.

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  • Azazel
    Sep 25, 2012 - 2:42PM

    @Pir Bulleh Shah:
    Liberation from what,Persecution???

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  • Estragon
    Sep 25, 2012 - 3:36PM

    Pakistan and Egypt are spiraling down into failed states. The only future they have is chaos and misery. Their radical populations will eventually force the end of aid from the West, and the end will follow soon thereafter.

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Sep 25, 2012 - 5:03PM

    @Temur who writes “If these people are being persecuted in interior Sindh then why are they not moving to other major cities like Karachi where their lives and properties will be secure?”

    Like what we saw on the Kuom-e-Ishq-e-Rasool?

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  • Sep 25, 2012 - 5:55PM

    Very sad… we must remember The Mullahs are driving Muslims out of Pakistan also

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  • LionOfPunjab
    Sep 25, 2012 - 6:55PM

    Why blame hindus? When the same mob that was ravaging for US/western embassy last friday, will also catch the first plane out to US/west if given an immigration visa!

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  • gp65
    Sep 25, 2012 - 6:58PM

    @Temur: ” why are they not moving to other major cities like Karachi where their lives and properties will be secure?”

    Forget Hindus, I do ot think Pushtoons who are Muslim would also say that their life and property are secure in Karachi.

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  • Iqbal
    Sep 25, 2012 - 7:41PM

    @LionOfPunjab:
    UK, where I am now, is unlikely to give any kind of visas to these ravaging mob. In fact, recently released data under the Freedom of Information Act shows that UK is unlikely to give visas to anyone from the subcontinent who has a muslim name – just like the way USA does. The future does not look good for us.

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  • Truth Is
    Oct 19, 2012 - 2:21AM

    The truth is, Caste Divide is nothing but Class Divide … and it will exist as long as their is poverty and income gap…. All Cultures (Arab, European, Indian) and therefore All humans/religions have had the Class divide since eternity and we will see it flourishing till eternity albeit in a subtler way if the societies are ECONOMICALLY Equal….

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