Minority grievances: Top Hindu spiritual leader abducted

Published: December 23, 2010
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Hindu community protest in several parts of Balochistan for the release of their 82-year-old spiritual leader.

Hindu community protest in several parts of Balochistan for the release of their 82-year-old spiritual leader.

QUETTA: One of Pakistan’s most revered Hindu spiritual leaders, Lakki Chand Garji, the maharaja of the Kali Mata Mandir in Kalat, was kidnapped on Tuesday night as he was going to officiate a wedding.

As a result of the kidnapping, hundreds of Hindu community members blocked the RCD highway, bringing traffic to a halt for several hours.  This caused great inconvenience to commuters and transport vehicles.

The members of the Hindu community demanded that the government secure the immediate release of their 82 year old spiritual leader.

The maharaja of the Kali Mata Mandir, along with five people, was travelling from Kalat to Khuzdar to attend a marriage ceremony. He was intercepted by armed men who then kidnapped him at gunpoint. Others who were accompanying the religious leader, including one who was the son of a businessman from Quetta, were later released.

“A vehicle was chasing us and intercepted us at a deserted place near Surab, some hundred kilometers away from Kalat,”  Babo Lal, one of the kidnapped men who later released by kidnappers told reporters in Kalat, adding “The kidnappers  tied our hands from behind with rope and blind folded us thus I do not know where they were heading.”

The Chief Minister of Balochistan province, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, told reporters that he believed it was a kidnapping for ransom incident and had no religious overtones. Raisani ordered the police and law enforcement agencies to secure the release of the Hindu community leader at the earliest. He noted that kidnapping cases had risen in certain areas of the province and instructed district officials to take action to prevent this. But members of the Hindu community held protest demonstrations in Khuzdar, Quetta, Kalat and Naushki.  Community elders said that that they are being targeted by criminals.

Addressing protestors in front of the Khuzdar Press Club, leader Nand Lal, Raj Kumar and Chander Kumar said that the government has failed  to protect the life and property of the people, particularly those belonging to the minority community. Separately, the Hindu Panchayat Quetta organised a rally from the Aria Samaj Mandir in Quetta and marched through Jinnah Road, Masjid Road, Shahra-e-Iqbal and Mannan Chowk.

Lakki Chand Garji has been performing his duties as maharaja at Kali Mata Mandir for the past 60 years and he had command on several languages including Balochi, Hindi, Sindhi, Persian and Brahavi, his devotees said.

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

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Concerned
    Dec 23, 2010 - 10:39AM

    I dont understand where we are heading to. The country is no more a safe place for minorities. Every day there is new case of abduction of minorities for ransom. Even my family has been suffering from this menace and we are waiting for the safe return of my uncle, a doctor and father of four. I request the Express tribune to highlight this issue further so that this serious crime against minorities comes to halt.Recommend

  • Concerned
    Dec 23, 2010 - 10:40AM

    I dont understand where we are heading to. The country is no more a safe place for minorities. Every day there is new case of abduction of minorities for ransom. Even my family has been suffering from this menace and we are waiting for the safe return of my uncle, a doctor and father of four. I request the Express tribune to highlight this issue further so that this serious crime against minorities comes to halt.Recommend

  • Muhammad Adnan Khan Qadri
    Dec 23, 2010 - 11:21AM

    Must be a kidnapping for ransom, don’t propagate as minority rights issue as several kidnapping cases reported in the last 6 months in that region.Recommend

  • Rakesh
    Dec 23, 2010 - 11:30AM

    “The Chief Minister of Balochistan province, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, told reporters that he believed it was a kidnapping for ransom incident and had no religious overtones”

    It is for ransom, but the fact here is that Hindus tend to be easier targets. The lack of political support and overarching emphasis on maintaining silence about their plight leads to incidents like this happen more often to the community.

    Raisani should not try to get into semantics of what the action is, he should rather condemning the incident with strong words to send a clear signal to culprits of the crime, that this would not be tolerated. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Dec 23, 2010 - 1:59PM

    The only issue that matters to Pakistanis is “freedom of speech” of Arundhati Roy…everybody else has no rights and no freedomRecommend

  • faraz
    Dec 23, 2010 - 2:38PM

    I hope it is only for ransom. Balochis are mostly secular but taliban also live around QuettaRecommend

  • gunjan
    Dec 23, 2010 - 7:54PM

    @Muhammad Adnan Khan Qadri

    Nobody is propagating anything at all. Don’t we know already that the rights of minority are protected constitutionally in Pakistan?

    Com on. You have no right to ask for any rights anywhere in the world?Recommend

  • M M Malik
    Dec 23, 2010 - 7:56PM

    Minority bashing will soon be the national sport of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Amna
    Dec 23, 2010 - 11:45PM

    How can we assume this was an act committed because this person was Hindu? Pakistanis face abductions and robberies and what not, everyday. ALL Pakistanis do. Pakistan is unfortunately becoming a lawless society.

    By raising this minority issue without even properly investigating the crime, we are just separating the miniority communities further form the Muslim majority in Pakistan. How many of us have never heard of someone we know that has experiance kidnapping robbery or something of that nature? Sadly, most of us know someone or have interacted with someone who knows someone who has faced this tragedy.

    That being said, this crime should be investigated (As should all crimes of this nature), and if it is truly a hate crime, then the issue should be addressed. and you all can jump on the “minority issues bandwagon”. Till then, lets not automatically segregate the minorities.

    Lack of Law and order and increasing crime is a Pakistani problem. Doesn’t matter what religion you are, if you can be kidnapped for ransom or robbed, there is a criminal out there that would do it given the oppurtunity. SO lets address the real issue.Recommend

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