Is India the natural homeland for Hindus? A group of 56 Hindu pilgrims who recently arrived from Pakistan rejected the notion of going back to the Islamic Republic which they claim is torturous.
According to media reports, the pilgrims plan to request the Indian government to extend their visa and pave a way for possible citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.
Narayan, a pilgrim visiting Haridwar from Karachi said, “We cannot go back. The Pakistani officials did not even permit us to bring enough money as they apprehended that we would not come back. We face relentless oppression in the Islamic Republic. We have requested the Modi government for help”
As per reports, local people have started to help the Pakistani pilgrims by helping them with money, clothes and food. Hira Bai, another pilgrim from Pakistan said, “Our family members have been killed, daughters kidnapped and converted and properties snatched. It is worse than death over there.
The Hindus of Pakistan were once a proud, influential and thriving community who were the bearers of an ancient civilisation that thrived on the banks of the River Indus but today their situation is grim.
Prior to 1947, Hindus formed between 14% to 23% of the population of modern Pakistan. Cities like Karachi and Lahore had a significant number of Hindus. Today, as per the 1998 census, Hindus merely comprise a 1.6%.
Life for a Pakistani Hindu is full of calamity; humiliation and vulnerability bereft even the fundamental human rights. Bigotry and discrimination is a regularised at the highest level, trained in schools and aided by the police, the Islamic radicals continue to suppress the already oppressed community.
The list of atrocities committed against Hindus of Pakistan include forced conversions, the kidnapping of young girls and desecration of Holy places. However, the most barbarous of these atrocities is the kidnapping and religious conversion of adolescent Hindu girls.
The Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) estimates that more than 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls are abducted and converted to Islam annually. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) indicates that about 20 to 25 girls are abducted every month.
The US published its 2019 annual blacklist for religious freedom violations, where nine countries, including Pakistan, remained on the State Department’s annual list of “countries of particular concern” for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”.