Discussing their rights: Hindu Panchayat claims govt does nothing but condemn

Forced conversions, kidnappings and temples discussed at meeting.


Our Correspondent August 11, 2014

KARACHI:


In the last 15 years, the Hindus of Sindh have faced a lot of problems, including forced conversions and kidnappings. In some cases, according to the president of the Hindu Panchayat's Karachi division Amarnath Motumal, the girls were forced to convert and then sold off.


Motumal, who is also the legal adviser to the Pakistan Hindu Seva (PHS), claimed that Hindus in Sindh were afraid and intimidated. He added that it looked like there was no one to solve their problems.

"According to the Constitution, minorities are supposed to have equal rights but we don't," he said while speaking at a meeting on minorities in Sindh at Hotel Country Inn. "We are Pakistanis first, then Hindus." He added that although the community was facing a lot of problems they were bound by financial restrictions. Many people, according to Motumal, wanted to leave the country but 97 per cent of the Hindus cannot afford to migrate.

The general secretary of the Shri Maharashtra Panchayat, Vishal Rajput, criticised the government and said that the politicians did nothing when their temples were attacked except for condemning the incident. Senior vice-president of the International Finance Institute, Sunil Kumar Dhanwani, told The Express Tribune that there were discriminatory policies towards Hindus in Pakistan which was the main reason why more than 10 million Hindus migrated to India.

"According to the Constitution, minorities are given a five per cent quota for jobs but we hardly get 0.5 per cent," he said. "The Hindus have always been associated with the business community but for the last three decades we have been forced to leave our businesses and homes."



Former professor of the Sindh Muslim Science College, Prof Kumar said that those families who make a good living should donate 0.1 per cent of their earnings to nonprofit organisations, such as the PHS, so they can help the community.

Dental surgeon Dr Brijlal Jewani told The Express Tribune that they also faced problems while applying to India for visas. He said that in order to go for pilgrimage, they needed NOCs.

For Sanjesh Dhanja, the president of PHS, they need to pay more attention to religious education at school. He said that their children have to take subject such as civic or ethics as many institutions don't offer Hinduism as a course.

"We do not get any funds from the government," said PHS's vice-president Chander Kolhi. "The Global Human Rights Defence supports and helps us to provide education and medical facilities to Hindu children."

The PHS Welfare Trust works for minorities of Sindh. They are currently working in seven districts, including Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Badin and Mirpurkhas.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2014.

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