Protecting minorities

It is not right to let minorities live paralysed in fear because this would be following in footsteps of the Taliban.


Editorial October 04, 2012

Sometimes, rage in the name of religion in our country reaches such an extent that some members go so far as to not even spare a small, one-room Hindu temple. The Shri Krishna Bhagwan Mandir in Karachi was attacked by an angry mob on Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool. The temple’s caretaker was brought to tears when 150 people carrying rocks and sticks snatched adornments from the statues, which were brought from India over a decade ago. While protesting Muslims received the support of Pakistan’s religious minority groups over the blasphemous video, this is the ‘gratitude’ one of those communities received in return. This time, however, the police, finally appearing to operate in a fair manner, dealt a blasphemy charge against the Muslim men responsible for the desecration, under Section 295-A, punishing “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”.

Apart from this most disconcerting state of matters, in which protesters of a peaceful religion displayed hatred and greed towards members of a minority group — and perhaps the fact that followers of all religions and faiths deserve equal treatment under the law — the decision by the police must be supported. All citizens of a state must be forced to follow the same rules and this should include respect for other religions. An act of hatred towards a minority community must be regarded as inexcusable and reviewed until the wrongdoers face the consequences of their actions. We cannot allow such barbaric scenes from the past, of Sikh men eventually having to attack the angry mob back with daggers to stop them from destroying the Hindu temple.

Building religious tolerance in the country has a long way to go but the police, meanwhile, must support minorities in coming forth and reporting hate crimes. It is not right to let minorities live paralysed in fear because this would be following in the footsteps of the Taliban, which also force people to live in fear.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2012.

COMMENTS (13)

Hasan | 10 years ago | Reply

@gp65:

when a retired, insignificant ex-minister is thrown in jail for a few years, it is NOTHING MORE than a 'token' gesture. When only 31 people are convicted for the bestial torture and murder of over 2,000 Muslims in the space of a few days, it is in fact a failure of justice rather than a demonstration of it. Oh, and when the Chief Minister at the time of the riots is exonerated and even starts to foster ambitions for prime minister, in most parts of the world it would actually be a national disgrace. But apart from all that, you're completely right.

Pakistan's minority ratio has not changed drastically since 1948, which saw many non-Muslims leave, and just as many non-Hindus flee Hindustan. Even a cursory analysis of your comments shows that you're clutching at straws, since there are no known incidents of minority massacres in Pakistan that come even close to those witnessed across the border. In 2009, the Gojra massacre saw 10 people killed brutally by religious fanatics - and that news was beamed across the whole world. Are you trying to suggest that we have somehow covered up larger bloodbaths? Even if there had been a mass killing going into hundreds of victims which had somehow slipped under the radar, it would still fall well shy of the repulsive, shocking scenes that Hindustan brought to the world just a decade ago.

lastly, the terrorists who attack our minorities are usually the same ones who like to target Muslims and especially our armed forces personnel also - and they are hunted down across the length and breadth of the country. So for you to start ranting about the killings in Karachi is frankly laughable, as it is a totally different kind of scourge.

Pakistanis have a long way to go before they can push the bigots back into obscurity - but they are much, much closer to doing so than Hindustan is. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Hasan

amit (India) | 10 years ago | Reply

The hearts of these followers of THE religion of peace must have been really brimming with love for the prophet to burn down a temple.

Why is it that Buddhism, Hinduism or Christianity never lay claim to being the 'religion of peace', and yet are far kinder to peoples of other faith.

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