Will India respond?
A Hindu girl named Rinkle Kumari was forcibly converted into Islam and subjected to unfair and inhuman treatment by the Islamic Zealots and the Pakistan Judiciary. The inhuman treatment she met came in public eye last year, but persecution, conversion, rape and ethnic cleansing that have been the fate of the many Hindus who were left behind in Pakistan in 1947 due to the partition of India still needs to be addressed. Last year many Hindus from Pakistan came to India in large numbers to escape the atrocities committed by the Islamic state, but the Congress government played it down in-lieu of the forthcoming 2014 elections and declared a policy for appeasing the minorities. But the recent statement by BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi in Barmer, Rajasthan, that “Pakistani Hindu refugees will be treated like other Indian citizens” has created some hopes for the Pakistani Hindu refugees who have been demanding right to live with dignity for many years now.
The Pakistani Hindus are facing a number of problems including lack of Indian citizenship and lack of access to basic facilities in India. Hanuman, a refugee staying in Rohini, New Delhi told Organiser that, ‘Congress has always given a deaf ear to our demands. We had only requested them to provide us Indian citizenship that could help us get jobs and feed our children. Like others, even we want our children to get admission in schools and colleges. Even Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde came to meet us but nothing has happened. We’re surviving with the help given by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and BJP. Few months ago, BJP President Rajnath Singh, donated10 lakh Rupees for 700 refugees staying in Delhi but the present government has been doing nothing except making fake promises.’
The influx of Hindu refugees from Pakistan is not new and the Indian state is well aware of their plight. After the India-Pakistan Partition, the population of Hindus in Pakistan that was around 22 per cent has come down to near 2 per cent. That the Hindus were forcefully converted into Muslims or whether they migrated because of the atrocities by Muslim has never been questioned and addressed seriously.
Majority refugees are mainly known to live in Rajasthan and Gujarat, because these are the areas which are very near to Pakistan. On the issue of Pakistan Hindu Refugees, Member of Parliament from Bikaner(BJP), Shri Arjun Ram Meghawal, said in a discussion on March 14, 2013 in Parliament that “All the minorities in Pakistan whether Hindus or Ahamadias or Parsis or Christians are living in pain and agony. There are not fugitives so their issues should be dealt with humanitarian approach. If the public can help them, why the Government has failed to provide them shelter? Why have they not been granted the citizenship of India, when they don’t desire to go back to Pakistan? And as they are not able to pay the enhanced fee of the Indian Embassy in Islamabad for visa, their issues need to be addressed immediately.
Rajesh Gogna, General Secretary of Human Rights Defense International, an organisation committed to the Human Rights concerns of Hindus in Pakistan and Hindus refugees from Pakistan in India spoke to Organiser on the issue. He said, “At present, there is no scheme of relief, rehabilitation, assistance and compensation to the Hindus coming from Pakistan. Giving Voting Right to a refugee is a time taking process and may take time, so priority should be to address their immediate concerns first.”Gogna added, ‘Normally it takes one to two years to get long term visa and seven to nine years to get citizenship. Till the time the citizenship is bestowed upon the Hindu refugees from Pakistan, they cannot get employment, cannot open bank accounts, and their children cannot get admission in educational institutes. What needs to be done primarily is to relax the terms and condition of Long Term Visa process, and to have a proper refugee policy to grant immediate asylum to all Hindu refugees from Pakistan. Till citizenship or asylum is granted they should be given benefits for poor people under the BPL scheme and should be allowed to get employed, open Bank account, medical facilitates and education for their children.’ “This is the minimum which is required for their survival in India,” he said.
Living a life of intimidation and persecution for long, Hindus from Pakistan seek justice, and India need to treat them kindly. Being the secular polity and the cultural fountainhead of Hinduism, It is India’s moral and human responsibility to protect them and to help them live a dignified life.
As per the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), India hosts a total of 1, 85,118 refugees and 3,518 asylum seekers as on January 2012. In 1965, 8,000 Pakistani Hindus migrated to the state of Rajasthan alone, while approximately 90,000 arrived in 1971, and nearly 20,000 in the post-1992 period.
— Nishant Kumar Azad
General Secretary of Bhagini Nivedita Sewa Nyas, Shri Mahavir Prasad Gupta, who has been in the forefront of helping the Hindu migrants coming from Pakistan since 2011, says that providing immediate shelter to any Hindu migrant is the responsibility of the Government of India. He added, “Hindus come to India because there is no other country that’ll give them shelter in distress. Hence, any Hindu migrant coming from any part of the world should be granted work permit immediately to enable them earn livelihood. And since providing citizenship and other rights do take some time, they should not be forced to go back to their country of birth, against their desire.”
Welcoming the promises made by BJP in its manifesto for the migrants, Shri Gupta said not only the migrants coming in recent years, even the migrants who came from Pakistan in 1947 or in later years from Bangladesh , and who are still languishing in Jammu or in any other part of the country should also be granted the same rights.
Tulsi exposes, John Dayal deposes
Tulsi Gabbard who is a member of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) raised serious concerns about the April 4 timing of the hearing “Plight of Religious Minorities in India” that focused on the Human Rights situation for religious minorities in India held in Washington DC. She suggested that the hearing may have been intentionally timed with the Indian democratic election and urged the committee members not to attempt to influence it. The hearing was organised by TLHRC and the objective was to “examine this polarisation in the context of the US-India relationship.” Because of his role in the commission, the role and visit of John Dayal , Member, National Integration Council, Govern-ment of India, who focus on the Human Rights situation for religious minorities in India is under scanner as he mainly highlighted the plight of religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims, due to the growing intolerance and polarisation, and of the enactment and implementation of draconian laws which are repressive towards religious minorities, during the hearing. Dayal has been a past master at misrepresenting India and especially Hindus and Hindu organisations on foreign soil. And it is clearly known that he was closely associated with the activities of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council, and was part of the flawed Communal Violence Bill. In a brazenly partisan attitude the panel that was headed by Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, an ardent champion of human rights and religious freedom also pointed that India and especially the BJP-ruled states remain the target of sizable external Christian missionary-connected or supported conglomerates. Tulsi said during the hearing that, “several US lawmakers voiced concern for the future of religious minorities in India in a hearing that critics denounced as an attempt to influence upcoming elections.”— Bureau Report