Hindu community demands religious freedom, protection
LAHORE: The Hindu community has urged the government to provide them religious freedom, ensure sanctity of their worship places, protection of their lives and properties, and grant them their fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
A delegation of the Hindu community demanded this while celebrating Holi, festival of colours, at a ceremony organised by the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan (SAP-PK) at its office on Tuesday. The 50-member delegation consisted of men and women from various districts of the province.
Delegation members said that absence of any law to govern registration of marriages among community members is among major problems they were facing since the creation of Pakistan.
They said that it was “deplorable” that they were not being regarded even as “third-grade citizens.” They said that they were being “discriminated” in every field, including education.
They said that nothing about their community and their religion was included in syllabi of schools despite the fact that Hindus were the largest group among religious minorities. They also said that nothing about interfaith harmony was taught in schools.
Kanwal Kishor, from Rahim Yar Khan, said that what the founder of Pakistan had said in his speeches about rights and status of minorities was never honoured, particularly in case of Hindus. He demanded that their representatives should be allowed to contest the elections directly instead of being nominated to assemblies by heads of political parties, so that they (Hindus) could hold their representatives responsible in case they fail to deliver.
He said that there are eight seats reserved for minorities in the Punjab Assembly but only one out of them is reserved for Hindus despite the fact that their population was a major religious minority group in Punjab. Pandit Channa Lal, from Rawalpindi District, said that in case any Hindu child up to the age of 12 years dies; then he or she has to be buried, but, unfortunately, there is no graveyard where this burial could take place.
He demanded that burial places should be allocated to the community along with allocation of residential plots and houses.
He said that their worship places are not accorded any respect. He added that this could be gauged from the fact that a temple in Saidpur Village, Islamabad, was converted into a hotel by the authorities concerned.