By: Our Staff Reporter | August 14, 2012 |The Nation
Dalits express concern over Hindus’ migration

KARACHI – The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) and the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) have expressed serious concerns over growing insecurity among the Hindu population in Sindh, which is causing migration of hundreds of families from Sindh and Balochistan to India since many years.
In a joint statement, the PDSN representative Zulfiqar Shah, and PPC Secretary General B M Kutty said on Monday that both the federal and the provincial governments had failed to protect the lives, dignity and properties of the Hindu community and other vulnerable groups, which is creating unrest among a larger section of the population. The kidnapping for ransom, abduction and conversion of Hindu girls; growing lawlessness; forced encroachment of Hindus families properties; and growing violence against minorities in Sindh districts of Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Kandhkot had become an everyday story now.
“We consider the ongoing development as highly unsatisfactory and a cause of great concern for all the citizens. According to the Constitution and international law, it is the responsibility of the state to protect lives and properties of all citizens without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the vulnerable religious groups face tougher social, religious and economic challenges to the extent that that leaving the country is the only option to save their lives,” the joint statement stated.
In Pakistan, religious minorities especially Hindus have to struggle with discrimination on religious basis while they face social exclusion and unabated violence in rural areas where feudal power elite exploit them socially, economically and politically. These feudal elites harass them and also encroach upon their properties.
Another powerful religious group which has the backing of political parties is busy in forcible conversation of Hindu girls after kidnapping them. These girls are forced to embrace Islam or she is threatened with dire consequences.
Recent incidents of Rinkal Kumari, Dr Asha and Manesha Kumari are some incidents of forcible conversion of Hindu girls. The families of these unfortunate girls are either considering leaving the country or move from their ancestor villages to other cities.
The PDSN and the PPC pointed out that local media has been reporting Hindu citizens’ migration to India for security reasons for the last many years but the state functionaries did not pay any heed to address the situation.
The recent national media reports of the migration of Hindu families from Jacobabad, in large numbers, has suddenly caught the attention of the state machinery that is spending more energies on covering the issue than addressing it. The FIA, under the directives of the Federal Interior Minister, reportedly forcibly stopped over 150 Hindus at the Wagah border in Lahore. They were coerced to sign an affidavit committing a return to Pakistan.
These types of pressure tactics are not only a violation of the right to free movement of citizens, they will never help the exodus of the Hindu community that receives little support from the state in terms of security and well-being. The PDSN and the PPC called for serious measures to address the grievances of the Hindu community and all the non-Muslim members of the state.