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Human boundaries campaign launched

By Chirag Patel
October 21 2013

 

 

 

A campaign to protect Hindu communities in Pakistan has launched in the UK.

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

These were the words of Muhammad Ali Jinnah during his first Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Unfortunately the current status of religious minorities in Pakistan, particularly Hindus, is not in line with what had been dreamt by Jinnah and neither is the future bright for Pakistani Hindus seeking asylum in India.

Consecutive Governments in Pakistan have continuously failed their own citizens by failing to protect them with basic legislation. Pakistan’s Hindu community has been requesting the legalising of the  Hindu Marriage Act to prove that marriages from Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist religions are lawful. For over four years, the Hindus Marriage Act has been drafted and passed through Pakistan’s parliament; however it is yet to be enacted.

Hindu women in particular are subject to a variety of Human Rights abuses. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), every month some 20 to 25 Hindu girls are forcibly converted to Islam in the Sindh province of Pakistan alone. These forced conversions are usually in conjunction with kidnapping and forced marriage. If they are not married off they are beaten, maimed, raped, gang-raped, sold or thrown into prostitution. Shakuntala Devi from the Schedule Cast Hindu Rights Movement stated, “It has now been more than four years that we have been waging struggle for our rights. Hindu women are being constantly victimised as, in absence of a marriage law; they remain deprived of basic right.”

By passing the Hindus Marriage Act, Hindu women will not only be given the right of marriage, but also the right to divorce. This means that women who are in abusive marriages will be protected by a legal framework to relieve themselves from their husbands without fear of kidnap or homelessness.

NHSF (UK), along with other Hindu and interfaith groups, has set up an international vehicle by which individuals can sign a petition.

We are petitioning for:

  • Pakistan to implement meaningful constitutional and legal reform as well as passing the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • India to grant Pakistani Hindu refugees asylum or legal status in India.

Alongside this petition, there will be screenings of a short 30 minute film in 11 locations across the UK. This award winning film will highlight the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and the struggles they face in seeking asylum in India.

For more information please visit www.nhsf.org.uk/human

 

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