NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Monday, May 31, 2010

PAKISTAN : A Hindu teenager is told to marry her alleged rapist by jirga members; police and courts fail to act

 By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Managing Editor)
Monday,May 31,2010

NOTE - Shirmela Farooqi Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh visited Rape Victim Kastoori Kolhi and said rich people never accused therefore her efforts to arrest culprits will go in vain.

Rape accused of Kastoori Kolhi never arrested:Shirmela Farooqi 

Asian Human Rights Commission - Urgent Appeals

PAKISTAN: A Hindu teenager is told to marry her alleged rapist by jirga members; police and courts fail to act

ISSUES: Rape; violence against women; administration of justice; police negligence

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that four men who allegedly assisted in the rape of a young Hindu girl have been granted pre-arrest bail by a session court. Rape is a non-bailable offense in Pakistan and this is against criminal procedure and the law. Attempts by the family to file an FIR and obtain a medical report have been obstructed by local police, who later arrested the victim's father on a false offense. Meanwhile members of an illegal tribal court have reportedly proposed that the victim marry her rapist and convert to Islam. She has threatened public self immolation if the perpetrators are not arrested and brought to justice by the authorities.

Please Sign Petition below and share this with your friends........(Pakistan Hindu Post)
Here is link Kastoori Kolhi Rape Case - AHRC

Pakistan Government Ignores Rape Of 17-year-old Hindu Girl (Kasthuri Kolhi) in Sindh

By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Islamabad)
Monday,May 31,2010
ISLAMABAD : In late February, Kasthuri Kolhi, a 17-year-old from rural Pakistan, was allegedly raped by a local political leader and three of his associates. Protesters claim that authorities ignored the crime because Kolhi is a poor, Hindu minority, belonging to the Dalit group, a 'low caste.'

The crime against the girl, who is a resident of village Mokryo, Taluka Nagarparker, district Tharparker, was allegedly perpetrated on January 24 by a local Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader, Ramzan Khoso, and his associates, Habibullah Khoso, Ghulam Nabi Khoso, and Veero Maharaj.

Kolhi's parents, local villagers and activists from groups including the Dalit Solidarity Network have asserted that medical authorities, government officials and the media are complicit in protecting the assailants.

After the incident, Kohli's father issued a complaint of the kidnapping and rape, known as a First Investigative Report or FIR, in Pakistan, to authorities.  Rape falls under Section 365-B in Pakistan's penal code, and is an un-bailable offense.  In spite of this, all of the accused rapists were released from detention, and none have been charged in the rape.

A medical examination, conducted a month after the incident by authorities, was deemed inconclusive because of the time that elapsed between the exam and the attack.

Locals and activists are alleging that hospital and police authorities deliberately ignored Kolhi and stalled the justice process, under the influence of the local political bosses.

Protesters at a rally earlier this month outside the Karachi Press Club are calling for a response from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.

Days after the protests, on March 8, a local Dalit group reported that another teenager, aged 15 years, was kidnapped and 'forcibly married to a Muslim influential.'

Jan Khaskheli reports that:

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Sindh Taskforce, the alleged abductors, Mumtaz and his father Talib Hingorjo, have threatened the community to stay quite on the issue or else they would kidnap other girls from the community.

NOTE - Dalit Solidarity Network (DSN) ,Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCM) ,Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Various local Hindu (Dalit) org. are involved including SCRM.

Below is Link to confirm this ----

Kastoori Appealing For Justice (Pakistan)

PML(N) Ladies wing joins for justice with Kastoori (Pakistan)

Protest for Justice to Kastoori Kolhi Nagarparkar Girl (Sindh-Pakistan)

Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP) has sent you an invitation to sign the petition "Ensure human rights protection of a minority rape victim in Pakistan" on

Please Click the link below to view the petition.

Permaisry Mai has opened up new possibilities for the scheduled caste Hindu community in Pakistan

By Ramesh Jaipal (Hare Rama Foundation)
Monday,May 31,2010

Dear *PHP Reader
            Hope you guys are doing fine,Please read Hindu marriage issue and other problem of Scheduled Caste  Hindus in Pakistan and activities of Scheduled Caste Rights Movement (SCRM) in Pakistan , regarding the issues.
with Regards...

Ramesh Jaipal (Chairman)
Scheduled Caste Rights Movement Pakistan
Rahim Yar Khan
92-300-967 5588

Pakistan : "Everything was okay until we reached the gate of a temple in Lahore where security personnel asked us for identity cards. I, like other women from my community, had no such document so they denied us entry into the temple for which we had travelled such a long distance," laments Permaisry Mai.

"The ordeal, however, didn't end there and later when I and my husband tried to have a room in a small hotel to spend a night, we were again asked for the NIC. The hotel management also asked for a proof that we were married to each other. We had none of these essential documents and hence had to spend the night at the railway station. I can never forget the humiliation that I faced that day," Mai, a scheduled caste Hindu, recalls while talking to TNS.

With no access to basic human rights such as marriage registration, land ownership, protection of worship places and equal political participation, scheduled caste Hindus are the worst-affected community in the country despite being the largest minority group in Pakistan.

Pakistan is home to over three million Hindus and out of that around 2.5 million are from the scheduled castes. However, they remain the most discriminated against minority group in this 'land of pure' even after the passage of well over six decades since its inception.

Most of the scheduled caste Hindus are poor, deprived of basic facilities of life, mostly illiterate, they can't feed their children properly who, like their parents, remain unprivileged and this goes on from generation to generation. How miserable their lives have been for years now can be gauged well from the fact that majority of these low caste Hindus don't have even the National Identity Cards (NICs). And the non-provision of this basic document, which every citizen of this country is entitled to be provided with, hinders the movement of thousands of people from the scheduled caste Hindu community outside their hometowns and localities.

If someone even dares to venture out of his home city of town he or she has to meet the fate of Permaisry Mai, a scheduled caste Hindu woman, in mid twenties, from Rahim Yar Khan. Mother of three daughters, with the elder being five and the youngest only a few months old, Permaisry Mai leads the life of a common village woman. Gomand Jee, her husband, is a shoe seller in a small village of Rahim Yar Khan City.

Like other Hindu women in her town, Permaisry Mai had never gone out to any other part of the country until two years ago when she along with her husband decided to visit Lahore to pay respect at a Hindu temple.

"It was then and there that I decided to obtain the identity card despite all the procedural hurdles that the people from my community have to face to get this document that is their basic right," she says. Soon she realised that there was no system in place to facilitate Hindu women and the authorities would keep sending them back and forth asking for additional documents. "They didn't realise that if the very basic document like NIC is missing, how I could have any other document to prove my identity," she argues.

It was only on November 23, 2009 that the Supreme Court took a suo moto notice after the issue appeared in the press and ordered National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to issue identity cards to Permaisry Mai and other members of her community. Moreover, the apex court also directed the relevant official quarters to legislate for the registration of Hindu marriages.

The success of Permaisry Mai was a great breakthrough in the life of Pakistani Hindus and a realisation of their long standing demand. But, perhaps, Permaisry Mai was the luckiest among the lot as thousands of other men and women from her community have yet to obtain this one single identity document and also to get the right to register their marriages.

The identity related problems and no marriage registration have resulted in many domestic, social and psychological problems for hundred of Hindu families and especially for the womenfolk.

These scheduled caste Hindus complain that for years their women have been forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men despite the fact that many of them were already married to men from their religion.

As there are no documents to prove early marriages, so the families of these ill-fated women, including their spouses, cannot take up the issue at any level. The other problem that these women face is their inability to get any share in their parents and husbands property -- again thanks to non-availability of required documents.

With such a grave situation to face, the lower caste Hindus decided in 2008 to launch a movement of their own and named it as Scheduled Caste Rights Movement (SCRM). This organisation since then has been focusing on issues confronting them like birth and marriage registration and also the provision of basic documents like NIC along with efforts to ensure equal political and social rights for their people.

In this endeavour, some NGOs like ActionAid Pakistan are trying to extend maximum possible support to SCRM. These organisations are striving to do away with the structural causes of discrimination against the Hindus and also to promote peace and interfaith harmony between Hindus and Muslims.

The SCRM with the help of ActionAid drafted Pakistani Hindu Marriages Registration Bill 2009 in consultations with Hindu religious scholars and the Hindu community. The draft bill was submitted to the Ministry for Minority Affairs to start the legislation process.

Now the scheduled caste Hindus are anxiously waiting for this key legislation that they believe would change their lives for good and help ensure their rights as equal citizens of Pakistan.

Yasmin Rehman, adviser to prime minister on women affairs, tells TNS the government fully supports a comprehensive legislation so as to ensure that scheduled caste Hindus get access to basic human rights.

Dr. Nafisa Shah, member of the National Assembly's Standing Committee for Minorities, says strict laws are needed to be framed against any injustice meted out to scheduled caste Hindus or any other minority group. She feels it is unfortunate that owing to absence of Hindu marriage registration, women fail to get any share in their parents' or husbands' property. She also called for the speedy legislation to ensure rights of scheduled caste Hindus.

Sat Sang Program and New Hindu Mandir ,arranged by Hindu Sudhar Sabha (HSS) , Pakistan

By Naresh Jairam and Krishna Jaipal (PHP Lahore)
Monday,May 31,2010

Dear Gopinathji please see an attach  files of Hindu Festival of Narowal an their we establish a Hindu Mandir.
with regards....
Ramesh Jaipal
  (Ratan Lal and Ramesh Jaipal speaking on Sat Sang Program in Narowal)
 (Pandit Rajeshji and Amarnathji chanting Vedic Mantra for Puja)
(Guests Women and girls participate in Puja Function in Naowal)
 (Local Hindu residents attending the Satsang program in Narowal)
Introduction to Narowal District (Urdu: ضلع نارووال) District in the province of Punjab of Pakistan. Narowal city is the capital of the district. Narowal District is divided into three tehsils: Narowal, Shakargarh and Zafarwal. Before the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Shakargarh town was the headquarters of Shakargarh Tehsil, which was a subdivision of the Gurdaspur District of British India. Under the Radcliffe Award, the tehsil of Shakargarh was transferred to Pakistan and attached to Sialkot District. On July 1, 1991, Narowal and Shakargarh were removed from Sialkot District to form Narowal District.

Pakistani Minorities Live In Fear and Threat After Lahore Terrorist Attack

By Mohammad S.Solanki
Monday,May 31,2010
 (Photo : 2010 Pakistani Hindu women's celebrating Holi festival)
ISLAMABAD : Pakistani minorities, including Sikhs and Hindus, are living in constant fear ever since the attack Friday by Taliban guerrillas at two mosques of the minority Ahmadi sect in which at least 90 people were killed.

Pakistani Minorities Council (PMC) chairman Sardar Bhishan Singh said the incident had exposed the fact that minorities were not being fully protected by the government.

'The enemies of Pakistan exploit such security lapses and attack minorities without fear of repercussions... the government should realise how important it is to treat all citizens equally,' Daily Times quoted him as saying.

He said Pakistan's Sikh community strongly condemned the terror attacks and demanded that the government provide proper security at several temples and churches in Lahore.

In Friday's attack, Taliban guerrillas wearing suicide vests fired indiscriminately and lobbed grenades as they stormed two mosques of the Ahmadi sect and took worshipers hostage. The gunmen were neutralised by the security forces after a fierce gunbattle.

Pakistan Hindu Welfare Council president Manohar Chand said no citizen of Pakistan from a minority community felt secure after Friday's attacks.

He added that police check posts should be set up around minorities' worship places in the country.

'Words cannot make up for the lives lost on Friday... people of all faiths are praying that the souls of those who lost their lives may rest in peace. The situation is getting worse day by day and the government cannot afford any more incidents of negligence on its part with regards to the security arrangements for minorities in the country,' he said.

Systematic Mistreatment of Hindus and heretics in Pakistan

By Purushottam Singh (PHP Editor from NYC)
Monday,May 31,2010
(Photo : Hindu Women in Thar District of Sindh in Pakistan)
HERETICS : Terrorists murdered dozens of people in two minority mosques in Lahore, Pakistan.  As people prepared for prayer, nine youths burst in, opened fire at the helpless civilians, and some set off bombs that took their own lives, too.  I spare you the details of the gore, but it is horrifying.

The crime of the doomed?  They belong to a sect that follows Islam except for believing that their leader is a “messenger” referred to by Muhammad.  For that, the government has declared them heretics.  it forbids them to call themselves Muslims and their temples mosques  (Waqar Gilani and Jane Perlez).

HINDUS :  In one town of Pakistan in a single week, 57 Hindus in three waves converted under pressure to Islam.  The pressure was from their employers and their neighbors.  The employers were, themselves, under pressure from customers and suppliers, boycotting them for hiring Hindus.  The Hindus converted in order to keep their jobs and ability to support their families.  Such is life in the town of Sialkot, Pakistan. 

The source: “Diligent Media Corporation, which owns DNA (Daily News & Analysis), is a joint venture between two industry majors - the Dainik Bhaskar Group and Zee Group. With a reach of more than 120 countries and access to more than 250 million viewers globally…”

CONCLUSION : The two incidents have in common intolerance by Pakistani society.  It is not just terrorism, not just government, but government, terrorists, and society as a whole.  This impression of Pakistan should inform U.S. foreign policy makers about what to expect from dealing with Pakistan.

What temerity of callow youths to impose a death penalty on people who do them no harm!

Daily Inspiration from Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

By Gopinath Kumar (PHP USA)
Monday,May 31,2010
Our civilization has come under a new assault with the entire globalization of a rotten food culture. The McDonald's experience is really the experience of eating junk whilst thinking you are in heaven.
 Environmentalist Vandana Shiva criticizing fast food chains.

Hindu Temple In Tooting is Faces Demolition in UNITED KINGDOM

Monday,May 31,2010
UNITED KINGDOM : The only Hindu Temple (a district of South London) is facing demolition as developers plan to move in and replace the holy site with a hotel and student accommodation. The Sivayogam Muthumariyamman Temple may be forced to close after the religious leaders’ bid to buy the building was rejected. Money owed to the landlord after a tenancy disagreement is thought to be main reason behind the rejection.

Navenbram Seevarapnam, founder and spiritual leader of the temple, said: “This will cause a lot of pain and misery for the whole community. Unfortunately this development is now in the hands of [other] people. “I feel we are being forced out. We have no other place to go. It is not easy to move a temple, it is something that once founded should remain in its location forever.” The temple is estimated to receive 300 people a day, with worshippers travelling from all across Europe - as well as India and Sri Lanka. It has been at its current location for 14 years and on special religious days can see the number of visitors rise into the thousands.

Barrowfen Properties, who are both the current landlords and developers, plan to build a 76 bedroom hotel, student accommodation in the form of 11 flats and commercial floorspace at ground level. Mr. Seevarapnam said he and a charitable trust that support the temple had tried to purchase the building, were rejected.

Balinese Hindus Celebrate Kuningan Day in Indonesia

Monday,May 31,2010
BALI, INDONESIA : Balinese Hindus will celebrate a religious day known as Kuningan on Saturday May 22, 2010. This ceremonial occasion falls exactly 10 days after the Galungan rituals and is a time to commemorate ancestral spirits as they return to heaven after dwelling on earth for an extended period.

Worshipers express their gratitude through prayer and offerings to the Gods for the ultimate gift of life. At Kuningan the arched bamboo poles referred to as as penjor, which are erected in front of each Balinese home compound during the religious festivities, are redecorated. White cloth is replaced with yellow cloth at the base of the penjor’s temporary shrine as an indication of prosperity.

Trinidad Elects Its First Female Prime Minister, a Hindu

By Krishna Mohan Das
Monday,May 31,2010

(Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar Prime Minister of Trinidad)
Trinidad and Tobago has elected its first female Prime Minister in the person of Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar following elections held on Monday. She is a devout Hindu, and her People’s Partnership won 29 out of the 41 parliamentary seats. Persad-Bissessar is expected to swear in as Prime Minister on Tuesday evening by President George Maxwell Richards.

She will also become Chairman of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Among her academic credentials are a B.A., LLB degree in Law, Master’s in Business Administration, and a Diploma in Education, all from the University of the West Indies.

She was the first woman to lead any political party in oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago. Her meteoric rise had its genesis last January 24 when he challenged her former political guru and mentor, Basdeo Panday for the leadership of the United National Congress. She won ten to one in the tally of votes.

Historic Vicharnag Temple Reopens in Srinagar , Jammu and Kashmir

Monady,May 31,2010
 Nishat Bagh in Srinagar (J&K)
SRINAGAR, KASHMIR : A number of Kashmir Pandits offered rituals at the historic Vicharnag temple, when it reopened after a 20 year hiatus. Located in the district’s Soura city, once famous for being center of discourse and learning for Muslims and Hindus, the Vicharnag temple had closed in the 1990 when the Kashmiri Pandits migrated from the Kashmir valley following ethnic turbulence. “Every year, during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navaratri, a grand fair used to take place. Hundreds of devotees of all age groups used to converge here but the area has remained deserted for the last 22 years. Now it has been reopened and people have started coming,” said Avtar Kishan Koul, a devotee.

The All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee in the state started the drive two years ago to open all Hindu temples and shrines in the Valley to restore their glory. “I feel very happy to meet the Hindus from Kashmir. They are our guests. Twenty-thirty years ago, we used to eat from the same platter, and help each other during weddings,” said Abdul Samadh, a Muslim.

Mauritian Hindu Community Celebrated Kavadi in Italy

Monady,May 31,2010
BARI, ITALY : The coast of Torre a Mare, a few kilometers from Bari, was transformed to look like Mauritius, or maybe, with a stretch of the imagination, like India. A ceremony was done in the temple dedicated to Murugan, the Murugan Kovil of Bari Torre a Mare, by the Tamil Mauritians of Pugliese, organized by the Govinda Association.

The ritual is called Sittirai Cavadee and is dedicated to the popular God Murugan, particularly revered in the south east of India. It began at 8:00AM with a procession departing from the temple on Valle Giglioli Partigiani street. Renganadun Mootoosamy, A Hindu priest from Mauritius, came to Bari to help with the ceremonies courtesy of the Union Tamoule de Maurice and Mauritius Tamil Temple Federation. There are over one thousand Mauritians in Bari. See photos of the ceremony here.

Growing curiosity about Hinduism prompts another Hinduism Summit at Chicago! , USA

Monaday,May 31,2010
 (Hinduism Summit at the Hindu Temple of Lake County, Grayslake, IL)
GRAYSLAKE, ILLINOIS - The Chicago Hinduism Summit’s success last month in bringing together over 200 individuals, leaders and organizations, to facilitate Hinduism learning has prompted spontaneous support for another Hinduism Summit in the Greater Chicago area. This Hinduism Summit (Hindu Dharma Sabha) will be held on June 5th at the Hindu Temple of Lake County.

The Hindu Dharma Sabha welcomes anyone interested in understanding, living and preserving Hinduism. It brings Hindu and spiritual leaders on one platform, to work together for the cause of Hinduism and Hindu issues. The Hindu Dharma Sabha provides a practical direction on living Hinduism and preserving it in the face of denigration and misconceptions rife about Hinduism in society and media.

Sewa USA Organizes First Conference on Bhutanese Immigrants’ Empowerment

Monday,May 31,2010
ATLANTA, GEORGIA : Sewa International USA successfully conducted the First National Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment Conference in Atlanta, GA, during April 17th-18th 2010. Over sixty delegates and over one hundred attendees came from all over USA to make this pioneering conference memorable.

The delegates expressed appreciation for the efforts of the United States Government, United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, and other refugee agencies in settling Bhutanese refugees in the USA and many other countries worldwide. Refugees have been facing hardships in refugee camps in Nepal for two decades. The government of the U.S. has accepted 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in a short span of four years. Since early 2008 when the first refugees started to arrive in the US, Sewa USA has been complementing the efforts of refugee agencies in providing assistance to improve the socio-economic condition of refugee families.

Sewa USA will continue to support the Bhutanese families irrespective of their religious belief, ethnicity or political affiliation. And continue to work with other like-minded organizations across the country.

For the full conference resolutions see url above. To read about the saga of the Bhutanese refugees immigrating to America, you can see the Hinduism Today article

World’s richest Hindu temple (Tirumala) Deposits One Ton of God in Bank in India

Monady,May 31,2010
(Priests perform special prayers at the sacred Golden Dome at the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirupati)
TIRUPATI, INDIA : Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the custodian of the world’s richest Hindu temple, has signed a pact with State Bank of India (SBI) for deposit of huge quantity of the surplus yellow metal lying in its treasury. The TTD has agreed, in the first phase, to deposit 1000 kg (2,204 lbs) of gold with SBI. The arrangement, which is expected to be a win-win situation for both the stakeholders, is also unique in the sense that a bank is coming to the doorsteps of Tirumala to receive the gold deposits and pay interest in the form of gold.

While the TTD paid in the past for charges towards transportation, insurance and melting (at the mint), the same will now be taken care of by the bank, thus saving a lot for the temple management.

Northwestern Indiana Hindus Build New Temple in U.S.

Monday,May 31,2010
(Shailesh Bhatt and Mahesh Mehta, members of the Indian American Cultural Center in Merrillville, walk through the foyer and entrance area of the new Bharatiya Temple of Northwest Indiana)
MERRILLVILLE, INDIANA : When Northwest Indiana’s growing Indian population wants to worship in a proper setting, they must currently travel 40 minutes west to Lemont, Ill., site of the closest Hindu temple. That is about to change. As of June 20, the Indian American Cultural Center at 8605 Merrillville Road will house an expanded cultural center and temple where its approximately 450 families can gather for meetings and weddings, Sunday school classes and Hindu worship.

“Our community is expanding and the first generation wants to maintain their own identity,” said Dr. Shailesh Bhatt, a Munster resident and member of the building committee. The center is culminating its expansion 10 years to the day since it opened its current building. The expansion brings the building from a 5,000-square-foot cultural center to an 11,300-square-foot building that includes the Bharatiya Temple of Northwest Indiana, said Dr. Panna Barai of Munster.

Hindu American Seva Charities’ Report for the White House in U.S.A.

Monday,May 31,2010
(On March 9, 2010, the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships presented its final report of recommendations to senior Administration officials at a day-long briefing at the White House)
WASHINGTON D.C. : Under the guidance of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP), an inspired team with Anju Bhargava, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council, formed Hindu American Seva Charities.

The Hindu American Seva Charities recently compiled a report that details specific seva activities, interfaith collaboration and information on infrastructures and capacity building among the Hindu American community. HASC discovered there was a significant gap between the U.S. government and Hindu/Dharmic institutions, particularly in capacity building and areas of civic engagement between these institutions and organization and the various stakeholders in our country.

To download the report prepared by The Hindu American Seva Charities for President Obama click here.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

U.S. Reports on Violations of Religious Freedom Going in Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (PHP from USA)
Saturday,May 29,2010
(Working Hindu Women (farmers) from Nagar Parkar in their traditional outfits,Pakistan)
This year’s report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, released on Thursday, puts Pakistan on the list of 13 “countries of particular concern” that are serious violators of religious freedom.

The country has escaped being ranked amongst the worst offenders which include Saudi Arabia, China, Myanmar and North Korea. Nevertheless, this indictment should cause serious concern. Abuse of the right to religious freedom is rampant as evidenced by the rise in religiously motivated crimes against minorities. There is on the one side growing intolerance fuelled in recent years by attacks organised by proscribed terrorist organisations such as the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan. On the other, as the societal mindset shifts towards the right, there is a growing lack of understanding of the rights of people of other faiths.

Reversing this trend requires steps at multiple levels. First, extremist organisations guilty of inciting religious hatred must be stamped out. Their leaders and members need to be identified and brought to trial, and the sources of their funding severed. Beyond that, awareness must be spread about the constitutional right to religious freedom and the minority communities’ status as equal citizens.

As the report notes: “Serious religious freedom concerns persist in Pakistan, where religiously discriminatory legislation has fostered an atmosphere of intolerance…. A number of Pakistan’s laws abridge freedom of religion or belief. Anti-Ahmadi legislation results in discrimination against individual Ahmadis and effectively criminalises various practices of their faith. Blasphemy laws have been used to silence members of religious minorities and dissenters within the majority Muslim community, and frequently result in imprisonment on account of religion or belief and/or vigilante violence.… The government’s response to sectarian and religiously motivated violence continues to be inadequate, despite increased security operations against extremists.” These shortcomings must be addressed on a priority basis.

The Plight of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Managing Editor)
Saturday,May 29,2010
(Women mourn the death of their relative, who was killed a day earlier in an attack on Ahmadi worshippers in Lahore, during the funeral in Chanab Nagar, May 29, 2010)

NOTE : Militants who attacked Ahmadi worship places in Lahore, killing 80 people, belonged to the Pakistani Taliban and were trained in a lawless border region where the US wants Islamabad to mount an army operation, police said Saturday.

ISLAMABAD : Friday’s terror attacks targeting two mosques run by the minority Ahmadiyya community show that Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan has become an intolerant nation where religious and sectarian minorities live in fear, remain vulnerable, and are provided no protection by the state.

This mindset is not limited to the Taliban, who kill in the name of religion. There is no shortage in Pakistan of sectarian and militant outfits that feel justified in murdering Ahmadiyyas, Shias, Christians and Hindus — or anyone who doesn’t share their views.

Most of these Sunni Deobandi organisations have their genesis in the Zia-ul-Haq era, a dark chapter in the country’s history which is responsible for rending our social fabric and fanning the flames of intolerance.

The Ahmadiyyas are a Muslim sect which was founded in Qadian, Punjab, in the 19th century. Its founder was Mirza Ghirlam Ahmad, a Muslim, who claimed prophetic status as the Mahdi or Messiah, in succession to Krishna, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed.

The Ahmadiyyas accept four of the five basic principles of Islam: prayer five times a day, the Ramadan fast, the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) and alms-giving.

They do not accept the fifth principle, of jihad or holy war against non-believers.

Many Muslims regard the Ahmadiyyas as heretics. Today, Ahmadiyyas are all over the world.

Anti-Ahmadiyya sentiment in Pakistan had first erupted prominently in riots in Lahore and other cities in 1953.

The plight of Non-Muslims , Minorities in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Editorial )
Saturday,May 29,2010
 (Policy forum demands legislation for Scheduled Caste Hindus’ rights Islamabad-May 18, 2010)
The EU parliament has rapped Pakistan hard on the knuckles for its poor minority rights record — and rightly so. It has also demanded a review of the infamous blasphemy law that has lent itself to misuse, to the extent of justifying murder.

While it is not clear if the European MPs were provoked by a particular incident, one cannot deny that Pakistan has to put in far more effort to gain the trust of its minorities. There are some laws on the statute books — including the blasphemy law — that actively operate against minorities. Although the constitution pledges protection for the rights of minorities, it also contains provisions that have caused a sense of insecurity among them. Attempts have been made to modify some laws, but the situation has not really changed on the ground. The blasphemy law that was introduced by the military regime of Gen Ziaul Haq is the most draconian and open to abuse. It has been used on a number of occasions to penalise communities that are not Muslim, with entire villages having been set on fire — Shantinagar is still fresh in our memory. An attempt by the Musharraf government to modify the process of registering a case under this law also ran into trouble.

With social prejudices increasing in an atmosphere of growing religiosity, it seems that minorities are becoming more vulnerable, even if they have rights under the law. Moreover, against a background of growing lawlessness in the country, they face a real danger of being targeted physically. They are discriminated against and, what is worse, cannot expect any protection from the state. The government must take a firm stand on their rights even if it means standing up to those obscurantist elements that have always opposed greater rights for Pakistan’s minorities. This government would be issuing a political statement in support of the minorities if it were to work towards repealing the blasphemy law. A campaign is also needed to make people aware of the virtues of tolerance. Without a change in the public mindset the current environment of hostility will remain.

SCRM demands for protection of Hindus’ rights, worship places in Pakistan

By Rajesh Kumar Pandit (PHP Islamabad)
Saturday,May 29,2010
ISLAMABAD : Scheduled Caste Rights Movement (SCRM) is organizing a policy forum here on Tuesday (today) to put forth their demands of parliamentary legislation ensuring legal protection of fundamental rights, particularly of Hindu marriage registration, land ownership, equal political participation, ending discrimination and protection of religious places and graveyards.

The event being organised by ActionAid will be attended by leading parliamentarians, policy makers, minority leaders of political parties, civil society activists and members of SCRM. Presence of Shahbaz Bhatti, federal minister for minorities, Yasmeen Rehman, MNA, Nafisa Shah, MNA, Ramesh Lal, MNA and Lal Chand, parliamentary secretary on minority affairs will mark the event with diversified discussions and debates on policy issues.

SCRM members from Rahimyar Khan and other parts of the country will come up with their recommendations for providing legal protection to basic rights of caste minority of Pakistan. They will narrate their personal and social tribulations in securing legal identity to basic rights.

Despite being a large religious minority in Pakistan, scheduled caste Hindus are unable to obtain National Identity Cards, in the absence of which their other rights are also violated. They face dual discrimination as a minority in a Muslim country and as “lower caste” among fellow Hindus. As shared by the Hindu communities, lack of NIC and marriage registration has resulted in many domestic, social and psychological problems for the Hindu families, especially affecting the women and resulting in their exploitation.

Since inception of Pakistan, the worst affected community has been Scheduled Caste Hindus who are discriminated in almost all spheres of life. In most parts of the country, local landlords and politicians have illegally occupied their religious seminaries, graveyards and land. For years Hindu women have been forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men while they were already married to a Hindu. Since there was no documentation to prove the earlier marriage, the woman’s husband or family were unable to take up the issue on legal grounds. Hindu married couples face numerous problems in travelling and lodging outside their place of residence. Many of them lack national identity cards (NIC), but even those who have NICs lack the proper evidence of marriage.

ActionAid has been working with these communities for long and in continuity of its efforts to raise voice against discrimination and deprivation of scheduled caste Hindus; it is supporting SCRM to conduct policy discussion on legal issues so that parliamentarians take up their cause in legislative perspective. The forum will help SCRM to articulate their demands for necessary legislation by the sitting government.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Movement for Rights of the Religious Minorities (Hindus) in Pakistan Missing ???

By Gopinath Kumar (PHP editor from USA)
Thursday,May 27,2010
(Pakistani Hindus celebrate Holi in Karachi City,Sindh)
Pakistan : The tectonic events of the past few years - including September the ‘11’ and the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond - have dramatically affected the Muslims and their attitudes toward the non-Muslims in general. However, some of the dynamics that are influencing the socio-cultural environment in Muslim countries and especially in Pakistan are also the product of trends that have been at work for many decades.
Falsely presumed religious mission and self-proclaimed righteousness has provided a vehicle through which different governments/leaders have sought legitimacy to discriminate against the non-Muslims. Some of the political parties even contest elections around an agenda of Islamizing the state and reforming the society around religious lines. Based on the ideology of two nation theory, the notion that a separate country "only" for the Muslims where they can live according to their own religious values has indeed proved lethal for the possibility of co-existence with other faiths for all times to come. It is predominantly a Muslim country but we need to be mindful of the existence of Christians, Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who identify themselves as non-Muslim but true Pakistanis.
In the past two decade or so, religion has become increasingly intertwined in the political turmoil that envelops Pakistan. The Hindu and Sikh community in Pakistan are very much under represented and is inherently sub divided into various castes. AA while siding with the poorest of the poor will work with the scheduled class hindus all across Pakistan. Their representative groups will be formed at the provincial level and strengthened to amplify their political voice and bring their grievances to the public fore will help us to promote diversity and ensure their rights. Capacity building of these groups will be done especially to empower them to participate in the upcoming census in 2010.
This campaign will contribute in increasing their participation in the national process as it provide the base of fiscal settings, services and programs provided to remote communities.

Policy forum demands legislation for Scheduled Caste Hindus rights in Islamabad , Pakistan

By Dr.Radhe Kumar with Source from ActionAid (Pakistan)
Thusday,May 27,2010
 (Policy forum demands legislation for Scheduled Caste Hindus  rights Islamabad-May 18, 2010)
Islamabad : In continuity of their long struggle to secure legal protection against violation of their basic rights, SCRM held a policy forum here on Tuesday to win greater support from policy makers, legislators, politicians, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists. Riaz Fatiyana, Chairman Standing Committee for Human Rights, Munir Chudhary, Joint Secretary on minority affairs and a prominent civil society activist Tahira Abdullah were among those participants who stood up to pledge their support for scheduled caste Hindus rights.
Scheduled Caste Hindu community had come from Cholistan, Multan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa to attend the policy forum and put forth their demands for legislation to end discrimination and hatred against them, to ensure land ownership and protection of their religious places, to ensure their political participation, and to form laws and procedures for registering Hindu marriages.
More than 20 SCRM activists and civil society representatives urged parliamentarians to ensure progress on Pakistani Hindu Marriages Registration Bill 2009 whose draft has already been submitted to the Ministry of Minority Affairs & Ministry of Human Rights for judicious consideration. “Due to absence of Hindu marriage registration, women fail to get any share in their parents’ and husbands’ property, they are unable to get health services, cast a vote, obtain a passport, and buy or sell any property”, said a scheduled caste Hindu woman participant.
Shakuntala Devi, a woman participant from Multan shared tribulations being faced by minority communities of Pakistan particularly those of a majority in minority. She referred to Permaisry Mai’s struggle for seeking National Identity Card (NIC) which ended up only when Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the issue and directed concerned authorities to issue her NIC. She was not satisfied with the development as it did not ensure NICs to all women of her community. She pleaded for immediate issuance of NICs to all women folk of Scheduled Caste Hindus.
Chaudhry Munir was of the view that resource distribution and decision making in ministries take place on political grounds that affects poor and minority communities very badly. Agreeing with the demands put by scheduled caste communities, he advised them to keep pressurising the government for earlier enactment of laws to protect basic rights of minorities. He also assured the audience that scheduled caste rights demands were already under consideration with the ministry of minority affairs.
Riaz Fatiyana, Chairman Standing Committee on Human Rights acknowledged the efforts of SCRM saying that there was need to redress the grievances of marginalized communities particularly those of scheduled caste Hindus. He informed the audience that standing committee has already decided to discuss many test cases from across Pakistan including those of rape, honour killing and forced conversion. He asked SCRM leadership to submit to him a written application regarding their demands so that he could formally take it up during meetings of Standing Committee.
SCRM also presented a draft bill on Hindu marriage registration to him and requested him to play his role in pushing forward the bill. ‘’ We have been deprived of our land, seminaries and graveyards and no one came to take side with us except for ActionAid that stood with us in formation of SCRM, a platform for launching a movement for securing basic rights of Scheduled Caste Hindus. So far, we have succeeded in submitting a draft bill on Hindu marriage registration to Ministry of Minority Affairs & Ministry of Human Rights.” said Guru Sukh Div Ji, Coordinator SCRM.

Persecution and Discrimination leads to 57 Poor Hindus convert to Islam 'under pressure' in Sialkot, Pakistan

By Rajesh Pandit (Islamabad) and Source
Thusday,May 27,2010
 (2010 Photo : Hindus Celebrating, Diwali Festival in Pakistan)
SLAMABAD : Over 50 Pakistani Hindus have converted to Islam in the Sialkot district of Punjab within a week (between May 14 and May 19) under pressure from their Muslim employers in a bid to retain their jobs and survive in the Muslim-dominated society.

As many as 35 Hindus converted to Islam on May 14, another 14 on May 17 and eight on May 19, 2010.

All the 57 Hindus who have converted belong to the Pasroor town of Sialkot.

According to some Pakistani electronic media reports, Mangut Ram, a close relative of some of the new converts, who lives in Sialkot, said that these Hindus had to embrace Islam because they were under pressure from their Muslim employers.

He said four Hindu brothers along with their families lived in the village of Nikki Pindi. Mangut Ram said that Hans Raj, Kans Raj, Meena/Kartar and Sardari Lal along with his nephews and sons worked at an eatery in Karachi.

According to Mangut Ram, his co workers often used to speak against Hindus in Karachi where his family worked. “The owner of the shop where I worked said that after a few months of his employing me the sales dropped drastically because people avoided purchasing and eating edibles prepared by Hindus. Many people opposed the large presence of Hindu employees at his shop and my boss felt pressured to change the situation,” he added.

Ram said Sardari Lal and his brother Meena/Kartar had worked at the sweets shops for several years and made a decent living that allowed them to support their families.

He said other Muslims employees of the nearby shops discriminated against them and persecuted them. The shop owner was forced to think about their future at his establishment. “That was when the two brothers and their families decided to embrace Islam in order to keep their jobs and be secure,” he added.

Ram confirmed that 13 family members of Sardari Lal, 12 members of Meena/ Kartar, their nephew Kans Raj’s son Boota Ram along with three adults and several children of these families embraced Islam on May 14, 2010.

He said that Sardari Lal’s older brothers Hans Raj and Kans Raj remained Hindus. Hans Raj too has said that he might consider converting to save his job. He said that life was ‘just easier if one was Muslim’ and he wouldn’t be discriminated against.

Ram said that 14 Hindus of the Tapiala village had embraced Islam on May 17 because they were extremely poor and could not get jobs because no one would employ the large Hindu family.

He said that another relative of his, Parkash, who lived in the village of Seowal, along with his eight family members had embraced Islam in order to save their lands.

“After embracing Islam, Parkash Ram told me that Muslim neighbours had been mistreating him and had forced him to convert,” Mangut Ram said.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daily Inspiration from Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

By Yogeshvar Dubey (PHP UK)
Wednesday,May 26,2010
The older I get, the more Hindu I become.
V.S. Naipaul, expatriate Trinidadian novelist, now living in UK, widely regarded in English literary circles as the best living writer in the English language.

Introduction to The Hindu Gymkhana now called NAPA in Karachi , Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar
Wednesday,May 26,2010
The Hindu Gymkhana (Sindhi: هندو جمخانه, Urdu: ہندو جِمخانہ) was the first public building in Karachi to boldly adopt the Mughal-Revival style. The building established in 1925, Its located at Sarwar Shaheed Road in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.

The Hindu Gymkhana was a club for the Hindu upper classes who formed a strong commercial elite in Karachi in the years before Independence in 1947. The Hindu community and Seth Ramgopal Gourdhanandh Mohatta contributed money for its construction.

Building structure

The building is designed by the first-known Muslim architect Agha Ahmed Hussain. The plan and massing was based on the tomb of Itamad-ud-Daulah (1628) in Agra. The building is small in size and consists primarily of a hall and some smaller rooms used for administrative purposes. Stone for the two-foot thick walls was acquired in Bijapur. The roof line is defined by delicate massing of cupolas and balustrades directly influenced by Akbar's Fatehpur Sikri. The octagonal corner towers framing the projecting central jharoka are capped with chattris. Smaller chattris highlight the corners of the projecting porch that carry the drooping bangladar roof used in Emperor Akbar's period. The projecting chajjas are supported by ornamental brackets. The cupolas of the chattris are reinforced concrete and the walls are dressed in Gizri stone. Some of the carved elements are of Jodhpur stone.

The building's condition has deteriorated over the years and it was going to be demolished in 1984. This was prevented by an intervention by the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan. Hindu Gymkhana now houses the National Academy of Performing Arts.

Hindu Gymkhana case: Sindh High Court seeks land record of 1959

Source Daily Times Reports
Wednesday,May 26,2010
 (Hindu Gymkhana Building in Karachi,Sindh,Pakistan)
KARACHI : A Sindh High Court (SHC) division bench comprising Chief Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany and Justice Zahid Hamid Wednesday directed the Sindh additional advocate general to submit the official land record of 1959 to ascertain the legal status of the Hindu Gymkhana, Karachi, by August 10.

The Hindu Welfare Organisation (HWO) approached the court, seeking handing over of the Hindu Gymkhana to their community.

The HWO’s counsel Noor Muhammad Dayo submitted that the building was established for the promotion of social and religious activities of the Hindu community, but the government took it over as an evacuee trust property.

He stated that the building was declared a heritage site, but the Sindh Culture Department leased it for 30 years to National Academy of Performing Arts, which in violation of the lease agreement started constructing an auditorium adjacent to the building. Previously, NAPA office-bearers contended that the construction was lawful, as Karachi Building Control Authority duly approved building plan. But, KBCA withdrew its permission on December 29, 2009 at the behest of the Sindh government without issuing any show cause notice despite the fact that the auditorium did not touch the heritage site.

On Wednesday, the additional advocate general drew the attention of the court towards the SRO 383 dated August 8, 1959, according to which all evacuee properties in the former federal capital other than agricultural lands were acquired by the then central government.

Missing person : An SHC division bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Tufail H Ebrahim directed the attorney general-1 to ensure the production of missing civilian employee of Signal Centre, Army Malir Headquarter, Karachi, on June 1, 2010 with the record and charges against him.

Petitioner Amina had approached the SHC seeking the whereabouts of her husband Muhammad Azhar, who worked as a civilian communications supervisor at the Signal Battalion-84, Malir Headquarters, Karachi.

Her counsel submitted that the petitioner’s husband went to workplace on May 12, 2010, but did not return. The petitioner approached the headquarters, which informed her that her husband was handed over to the custody of Wing Field Security-901.

Later, they informed her that he was handed over to the Signal Battalion-84, where officials told her that her husband was taken into custody for inquiry into previous cases. ppi

Daily Times : Muslim Cleric accused of kidnapping, converting Hindu girl in Pakistan

Source Daily Times (Pakistan)
Wednesday,May 26,2010
(Main Mosque in Rahim Yar Khan District,Punjab,Pakistan)

* Radha’s family claim she was forcibly converted in madrassa
* Police ignoring family’s complaints, say they should forget about the girl

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE : The leader of a madrassa allegedly abducted a minor Hindu girl from Rahim Yar Khan and did not let her parents meet their daughter, claiming that the girl had converted to Islam and no longer wanted to meet her “non-Muslim relatives”.

Radha (13) was abducted in December 2009, her parents told Daily Times, adding that they had “knocked on every door stretching from the president of Pakistan to Punjab chief minister and chief secretary, but to no avail”. “Local police, including the former and current district police officers of Rahim Yar Khan, are supporting the people who abducted Radha and are neither registering a first information report (FIR) against the accused, nor are they taking any action to recover the girl from the custody of Abdul Jabbar and Naveed,” they alleged.

Several human rights activists and local Hindu leaders have termed the incident “another case of forced conversion” and slammed the government for not addressing the concerns of the victim’s family.

Mehnga Ram – Radha’s father – told Daily Times that his daughter had been missing since December 21, 2009, and that the family had searched for her everywhere before some friends informed them that their girl was in the possession of the leader of the Darul Aloom in Khanpur.

“We went to the Abdul Jabbar, the head of the madrassa, and others and requested them that our girl be returned to us.”

Forget the girl: They initially denied that Radha was in their custody, but later admitted the fact only to then tell us that they could not allow us to meet our daughter since she had converted to Islam and did not want to see any of her non-Muslim relatives,” the father said, adding that he then went to the authorities, seeking to register an FIR against the culprits, but the police said they could not register an FIR because the “girl had converted and the family should just forget the matter”.

“We took local Hindu leaders and other respected people to the authorities in order to push them to lodge an FIR against Abdul Jabbar, but the officials sent us to then DCO Imtiaz Gul, who after listening to our story took our applications, but did nothing except delay the case and make false promises,” Mehnga said, adding that for months, the family sent applications to “every authority”, but to no avail.

He said there were only a few human rights activists and family friends who were supporting him because he was extremely poor and his only source of income was from a shoe polish stall, adding that local police officers and seminary heads – fearing any action that may be taken against them after the family started sending applications to the authorities concerned – had consented to arrange a meeting between Radha and any one of her family members and had also claimed that Radha had married a Muslim boy named Naveed.

Prakash, Radha’s brother, who went to the meeting a few weeks earlier, told Daily Times that he had met Radha for only a few minutes in the presence of Naveed’s family members and people from the seminary.

“There was absolute silence in the room. With tears in her eyes, Radha could only give short answers to my questions, including why she had gone missing and converted. My sister could only muster up the courage to say that she had converted and was happy,” Parkash said, adding that a few minutes into the meeting, he was told by the people in the room to leave and gave him a number on which he could contact Radha. “That number has been turned off from the day they provided it,” he said, adding that his family is extremely disappointed over being “ignored” by the authorities. “We only curse ourselves for being so poor and sometimes even for being non-Muslims in a country where religion matters. We are not expecting justice from any one and it is simply over for us now,” Prakash said.

Separately, a human rights activist based in the area, Ramesh J Pal, told Daily Times that he had been one of the people who had attempted to pursue the Radha case and had raised the issue at every possible platform, but no significant result could be achieved. “I personally met Abdul Jabbar, but he never entertained any of our requests. This is a clear case of forced conversion. Meanwhile, Dr Araish Kumar, an MNA elected on the reserved seat for minorities, told Daily Times that Radha’s case was clearly one of forced conversion and that he would personally talk to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and request him to act against the seminary chief and the people behind the crime.

However, Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Tahir Khalil Sindhu told Daily Times that he had received an application on the case and was already planning to take action against the people concerned.

He said that he would bring the case to the notice of the Punjab CM so that action is taken against the culprits.

No help for kidnapped minor Hindu girl forcibly converted to Islam by Pakistani cleric

By Rajesh Kumar (Islamabad) and Ramesh Jaipal (Rahimyar Khan)
Wednesday,May 26,2010
Pakistan : The deplorable plight of the Hindus in Pakistan has once again come to the fore with a shocking incident of a minor girl being kidnapped and forced to accept Islam by a leader of a madrassa.

Thirteen year old Radha was kidnapped in December 2009 and there has been no news about her whereabouts yet.

Radha's father, Mehnga Ram, said he has knocked on every door from the President to the Punjab Chief Minister and Chief Secretary, but there have been no attempt to recover his daughter, who is said to be in the custody of Abdul Jabbar , the head the Darul Aloom in Khanpur.

Even the police appears to be helping the madrassa leaders, as it has refused to register any First Information Report (FIR) in the case.

"Local police, including the former and current district police officers of Rahim Yar Khan, are supporting the people who abducted Radha and are neither registering a first information report (FIR) against the accused, nor are they taking any action to recover the girl from the custody of Abdul Jabbar and Naveed," said Mehnga Ram.

"We took local Hindu leaders and other respected people to the authorities in order to push them to lodge an FIR against Abdul Jabbar, but the officials sent us to then DCO Imtiaz Gul, who after listening to our story took our applications, but did nothing except delay the case and make false promises," he added.

The madrassa leaders had initially denied that Radha was in their captivity, but later admitted that she with them and did not want to meet her 'non-Muslim' relatives.

Human rights organisations had raised the issue on several fronts, but there has been little action concerning the case.

Ramesh Pal, a local human rights activist said he had attempted to pursue the case and had raised the issue at every possible platform, but no failed on all fronts.

"I personally met Abdul Jabbar, but he never entertained any of our requests. This is a clear case of forced conversion," The Daily Times quoted Pal, as saying.

When enquired about the issue, Member of the National Assembly Dr Araish Kumar, assured that action would be taken and that he would personally discuss the issue with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Tahir Khalil Sindhu said that he had received an application on the case and was already planning to take action against the culprits. (ANI)

Hindus face reservation threat : Says BJP , India

Source Indian Express (News)
Wednesday,May 26,2010
(Ex Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee releases " Sheroo" the Lion, the mascot of the First Afro-Asian Games (to be held in New Delhi from November 3-11, 2001) at a function in New Delhi on August 5, 2001. The Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Sushree Uma Bharati and the Minister of State for Youth Affairs Shri Pon. Radhakrishnan are also seen)
INDIA : BJP will launch a major 'awakening Campaign' in July to highlight the 'threat' facing Hindu students due to reservation for minorities (read Muslims) and monthly Education (Financial) assistance (EFA), party's Tamil Nadu president Pon Radhakrishnan said here today.

During the campaign from July 4-31, the party will press for similar EFA for Hindu BCs, SCs, STs and MBCs, he told reporters here after the party's State Executive Committee meeting.

Government was giving Rs.350 as EFA for minority school students(doing 5th-10th std),and Rs.500 for vocational course students. Besides other concessions on tuition fee were being given to the minority students. On an average each student was being given Rs.35,000 a year, he claimed.

He alleged that Government was encouraging conversions by such moves.

The DMK, which started a big agitation on a ''non-issue like "Anti-Hindi" agitation, which ultimately affected Tamil students, should now help the Backward,SC and ST people and get them the EFA, he said.

Hindus raise money for Muslim girl's wedding in India

Wednesday,May 26,2010
INDIA : It was more than a wedding since it also symbolised celebration of unity and communal harmony when Hindus in an Uttar Pradesh village raised money for a poor Muslim girl's marriage.

Hindus in Sunhera village in Baghpat district, some 400 km from here, performed the marriage Sunday. They are proud of their action, which they say will go a long way in fostering relations between the two communities.

'More than 800 people participated in the wedding. Such a ceremony was possible only with the generous contributions of the villagers,' Mahipal Singh, village head of Sunhera, told IANS.

'The wedding was no less than those organised in cities. Like them, the wedding had decorations, music and varied food items,' he added.

The locals also gifted the couple a number of items they would need for their new life.

'They were given several household items like tables, chairs, a radio and other electronic items,' said Sumer Singh, a resident of the village.

It was the locals who selected the groom for Asma.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Source Sign Petition for Hindu Marriage Act
Tuesday,May 25,2010

Namaste HAF Supporters,

Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan need your help now!  Did you know that today a Hindu marriage ceremony is not officially recognized by Pakistan?  Therefore, a couple who has been formally wed through Hindu, Sikh, B'hai or other non-Muslim rites cannot register their marriage with the appropriate legal authorities. This leaves Hindu and minority women, in particular, vulnerable to forced marriages with Muslim men, as they have no way to prove their martial status, and thus, are forced or coerced to convert to Islam. 
But you can help make a change by clicking here and signing this petition letter to Pakistan's Ambassador Husain Haqqani in support of the Pakistani Hindu Marriage Bill. Your letter will be sent directly to the Ambassador Haqqani.  If passed, this bill will be the first step in allowing Pakistani Hindus and other minorities to officially register their marriages.
The bill is up for debate this week so act now: Click here and sign the petition letter!  

 YOU can make a difference in the lives of Pakistani Hindus.  The deadline is Friday, May 5/28, so don't wait to click and sign

The HAF Team

Take Action: You Can Help Ensure Equal Rights for Minority Women in Pakistan by HAF

Source Hindu American Foundation (HAF)
Tuesday,May 25,2010

Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights promises all people, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, the right to marry and to found a family; the right to enter into a marriage without force and with the free and full consent of the intending spouses; and the right to protection of the family by both society and State.

Yet Hindu, Sikh, B'hai, and other non-Muslims living in modern day Pakistan are witnessing the breaking of these promises on a daily basis.  Millions today are unable to register and obtain official documentation validating their traditional marriages.  For these minorities, and especially women, the inability to obtain official recognition of their status as married leaves them particularly vulnerable to forced marriages with Muslim men, in violation of Article 16, and subsequently forced or coerced to convert to Islam (the Declaration unfortunately does not address the right to be free from forced or coerced conversions as a basic human right).

Imagine going through marriage rites and rituals but the government not recognizing your marriage simply because of your religion.  Or worse yet, imagine the State deeming you as "single" despite your having gone through your religious tradition's requisite rites and rituals or considering yourself married and then being forcibly converted to Islam and remarried to someone other than your spouse. Unfortunately this is not a hypothetical but  a stark reality for too many minority women (and some men) who face this kind of humiliation, exploitation, and discrimination in Pakistan.

Current Progress:

Advocate Amer Nadeem, an activist for the rights of Hindus, drafted a Pakistani Hindu Marriage Registration Bill 2009, in consultation with Hindu religious scholars, Hindu community leaders and the Hindu Marriage Registration Laws & Rules of India. The draft bill was submitted to the Ministry of Minority Affairs & Ministry of Human Rights to start the legislative process.

Throughout the deliberations, the print media and several television programs were strategic partners in strengthening the campaign by featuring articles about the issue and showcasing interviews of affected minorities. When the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) rejected a Hindu woman’s request for a marriage certificate on grounds that no mechanism or legislation was present to issue such a certificate to a Hindu, widespread media attention shed further light on the issue.

The Supreme Court in November 2009 directed NADRA to formulate a formal process to allow Hindu couples to be able to obtain NIC (National Identity Cards) and encouraged legislative action in this respect.  On March 1, 2010, the Ministry of Minorities stated their intention to create a formalized process within three months, which to date has not been made available (

The Hindu American Foundation, which has been documenting Hindu human rights violations around the globe in its annual human rights report (, needs your support in urging Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Haqqani to push for passage for the important Pakistani Hindu Marriage Registration Bill. 

Petition Text

Support the Pakistani Hindu Marriage Registration Bill

Dear Ambassador Haqqani,
I write to ask you to use your powers of persuasion to ensure basic human rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan and push for the passage of the Pakistani Hindu Marriage Registration Bill which is due for legislative debate at the end of May. Millions of Hindu, Sikh, B'hai, and other non-Muslims in Pakistan today are unable to obtain official registration of their traditional marriages. For these minorities, and especially women, the inability to obtain official recognition and documents of their status as married women leaves them particularly vulnerable to forced marriages with Muslim men and subsequently forced conversions, violations of two of their basic human rights.

Passage of the Pakistani Hindu Marriage Registration Bill, drafted by advocate Amer Nadeem in conjunction with various Hindu scholars and leaders, is critical in ensuring the stability of minority populations in Pakistan. As you are aware, the National Identity Card (NIC), for example, is essential to a variety of reasons such as temple entry and access to basic healthcare. However, the application for a National Identity Card (NIC) requires proof of marriage, which as of today, many minority couples are unable to provide.

As the United States and Pakistan continue their partnership, and as U.S. aid continues to flow to Pakistan, the basic human rights of minorities in Pakistan must be ensured. The ability to marry and marry freely with full consent is a fundamental human right, as defined in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, this right is currently being denied to the Hindu minority and other religious minorities in Pakistan. The Pakistani Hindu Marriage Bill is the first step in correcting this gross violation. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), which has been documenting the violations faced by Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan in its annual human rights report, has also recommended passage of this important bill as a necessary first step.

It is my sincere hope that you may prevail upon the Pakistani to pass this bill to effect positive and constructive improvements in the lives of Pakistani minorities.

Thank you.
[Your name]