NEW YORK (TIP): A group of US-based Hindu organizations held a protest demonstration against the Pakistani Government near the Pakistani Consulate in Manhattan, New York on Aug 14. The rally held between noon and 2 PM at the corner of East 65th Street in Manhattan was to voice their concern against religious discrimination of minorities in Pakistan- Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists- in their motherland. “This is nothing but religious apartheid for the entire world to see.
Almost all the Hindus and Sikhs have been religiously cleansed from Pakistan with the blessings of the government. At the time of Partition, Hindus and Sikhs were approximately 22-25 percent but now they are only about one percent. Thousands of Hindu families are being torn apart by their desperation to flee persecution in Pakistan. We urge the Obama administration to intervene, save the minorities and restrain Pakistan,” said Narain Kataria, president of Indian American Intellectuals Forum and the key organizer of the rally.
Besides the Forum, other organizations that took part in the rally included Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Hindu Human Rights Watch, India Heritage Foundation, Lansing, Probasi of Brooklyn, Michigan Justice for Hindus and Human Rights Coalition against Radical Islam. The peaceful demonstration was organized to condemn the atrocities as well as inform New Yorkers on the religious bigotry practiced in Pakistan.
“We want to express our solidarity with the victims and assure them that we will do our best to expose the evil designs of Pakistan in the US,” Kataria said. “Torture, loot, discrimination and murder of Hindu men and rape of Hindu girls and their forcible marriage to Muslims have become the order of the day in the failed state. According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on an average around 20 to 25 Hindu girls are being abducted, converted to Islam and forcibly married to Muslim men every month in the southern Sindh province.
Also a campaign of vilification and slander is being unleashed against Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan to denigrate and demonize their religions and preventing them from practicing their religious faith,” Kataria added. Addressing the audience, Narain Kataria, organizer of the protest said that Hindus have been terrorized in Pakistan to such an extent that in April-May this year, about 500 Hindus who crossed into India under the pretense of visiting a religious festival, refused to go back to Pakistan and begged government of India to give them political asylum.
Quoting from the last week US Commission report on International Religious Freedom Kataria said that it has tracked 203 publicly-reported incidents of sectarian violence resulting in more than 1,800 casualties, including over 700 deaths. “Blasphemy laws are being used to intimidate, harass and even give life sentences based on false accusations.
Radicalization of Pakistani society by Jihadists supported by ISI and other intelligence agencies led to imposition of 12 million rupees ($140,000) by way of jizya – the medieval tax levied on Sikhs last year in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan”, said Arish Sahani, co-convener of the rally. “Pakistan is a living hell for minorities; Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians.
It is time the country takes immediate steps to stop atrocities being perpetrated on hapless minority communities, Sahani added. The protesters carried banners and placards saying: “Pakistan is a Living Hell for Hindus, Sikhs and Christians; “Save Hindus, Sikhs and Christians from Islamic Terror”; “Every Month 20 to 25 Hindu Girls are abducted, converted to Islam and forcibly married to Muslim Men” etc.
In a memorandum presented to the office of the Pakistani Consul General, the protesters expressed outrage, shock and indignation at the horrific treatment meted out to Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. The Memorandum, inter alia, stated that the blasphemy laws are used to intimidate, harass and give life imprisonment based on false accusations. Campaign of vilification and slander continues in connivance with Pakistan government against Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in order to denigrate and demonize their religion.
Radicalization of Pakistani society by Jihadists supported by ISI and other intelligence agencies goes on unchallenged by the government, it said. Reminding the Consul General that “your forefathers were Hindus before converting to Islam by Arabs”, the Memorandum further stated that “you should understand that hate, violence, and terror are the hallmark of uncivilized brutes.
They are part and parcel of the Arabic barbarism. Perhaps you may be aware of the stark reality that even Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Father of Pakistan was the grandson of Punjabhai Valjibhai Thakkar, a Hindu. Hence, religious fanaticism of the 7th century is not compatible with the spirit of 21st century.