Dussehra dangers

Few Hindus celebrated the Dussehra festival at Lahore’s Krishna Temple, in contrast to the high turn-out last year.

Editorial October 19, 2010

Only a few Hindus celebrated the Dussehra festival — an important event on the community’s religious calendar — at Lahore’s Krishna Temple, in stark contrast to the high turn-out for the event last year. Security fears, stemming from last month’s verdict by a court in India dividing the site of the demolished Babri Masjid between Hindus and Muslims, was seen as a key factor in the new sense of fear. Hindu community leaders say the police failed to extend additional security — something that the latter have denied.

But beyond the allegations, it is not hard to understand why there is so much apprehension. Some reasons spring from events in India, but others are home-grown. Hindus have seen attacks this year on Ahmadis, on Shias and on Sufi shrines, their community could be next. Indeed, notably in Sindh, there have been rising incidents of violence against Hindus. According to a report in this newspaper, some families in interior Sindh are considering moving to other cities after kidnapping cases of boys — mainly for ransom. The abductions add to the threat faced by Hindus, who have for years complained of young women being kidnapped to forcibly convert them.

We can no longer doubt that the situation for non-Muslims, which some years ago had appeared to be improving slightly as the joint electorate was restored in 2002, and some efforts were made to draw them back into the cultural mainstream, has once more worsened sharply. The worst threat comes from extremists. Hindus — often associated with India though many may never have visited that country — are especially vulnerable. They need to be offered all possible protection — and a wider effort needs to be made to remind people that Lahore was once a city where festivals associated with all communities were celebrated by people from other religions as well.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2010.


Anoop | 11 years ago | Reply Jinnah wanted or claimed he wanted a country of India's minority. Got it really wrong.
SharifL | 11 years ago | Reply It is sad really. Pakistanis re so fond of pointing fingers at Indian atrocities and ignoring to talk about our own backyard. Whatever the continuing role of religion today, in philanthropy, in education, in ceremonial, in music, in personal comfort and hope, there is no obligation to believe. We can value things without God to tell us what is valuable. We know, without faith, that love is better than war.' I am sure this will not come very well with some. But I like light more than grey.
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