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Hindus in Pakistan September 10, 2009

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Fearing Taliban, Pak Hindus take Thar Express to India

Vimal Bhatia , TNN 10 September 2009, 02:15am IST

JAISALMER: In the past four years, some 5,000 Hindus may have crossed over from Pakistan, never to return. It has not been easy abandoning their
homes, sometimes even their families, but they say they had no choice: they had to flee the Taliban.

It started as a trickle in 2006, the year the Thar Express was flagged off. The weekly train starts from Karachi, enters India at Munabao, a border town in Barmer, and runs up to Jodhpur. In the first year, 392 Hindus crossed over. This grew to 880 in 2007. The next year, the number was 1,240, and this year, till August, over 1,000 have crossed over. They just keep extending their visas and hope to become Indian citizens. Incidentally, these are official figures. Sources say there are many more who cross over and melt in the local milieu. And officials have a soft corner for these people, most of whom have harrowing stories to tell.

Ranaram, who used to live in the Rahimyar district of Pakistan’s Punjab, says he fell prey to the Taliban. His wife was kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. His two daughters were also forcibly converted. Ranaram, too, had to accept Islam for fear of his life. He thought it best to flee with his two daughters; his wife was untraceable.

Dungaram, another migrant, says atrocities against Hindus in Pakistan have increased in the past two years after the ouster of Musharraf. “We won’t get permanent jobs unless we convert to Islam.”

Hindu Singh Sodha, president of Seemant Lok Sangathan, a group working for the refugees in Barmer and Jaisalmer, says there’s unfortunately no proper refugee policy in India even though people from Pakistan reach here in large numbers.

He said in 2004-05, over 135 families were given Indian citizenship but the rest are still living illegally in the country and are often tortured by police because they don’t have proper citizenship certificates. “In December 2008, over 200 Hindus were converted to Islam in Mirpur Khas town of Pakistan. But there are several others who want to stick to their religion but there’s no safety for them in Pakistan.”

Immigration officer at Munabao railway station, Hetudan Charan, says the arrival of Hindu migrants had suddenly increased as over 15 to 16 families were reaching India every week. “None of them admit they are to settle here but seeing their baggage, we easily understand,’’ he said. Ravi Kumar, who was Barmer collector till his transfer two days back, said the government in 2007 had given permanent citizenship to a few Pakistani immigrants.

Ref: Times of India, Mumbai, front page: 10 Sep 09 (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Fearing-Taliban-Pak-Hindus-take-Thar-Express-to-India/articleshow/4992774.cms)

Malaysia Muslims protest proposed Hindu temple September 6, 2009

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By VIJAY JOSHI (AP) – Aug 28, 2009 

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Dozens of Malaysian Muslims paraded Friday with the head of a cow, a sacred animal in Hinduism, in a dramatic protest against the proposed construction of a Hindu temple in their neighborhood. 

The unusual protest by some 50 people in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state, raises new fears of racial tensions in this multiethnic Muslim-majority country where Hindus comprise about 7 percent of the 27 million population. 

The demonstrators who marched from a nearby mosque after Friday prayers dumped the cow head outside the gates of the state government headquarters. Selangor adjoins Kuala Lumpur. 

Protesters stomped on the head and spat on it before leaving the site, Xavier Jeyakumar, a state government official in charge of non-Muslim affairs, told The Associated Press. 

“This is a sign of disrespect, insensitivity and a huge insult to the Indian community,” he said. 

Such an overt display of religious discord is almost unheard of in Malaysia, which has carefully nurtured racial harmony among its three main ethnic groups, Malay Muslims, Chinese and Indians, since 1969 when the country suffered its worst racial riots. 

The demonstrators said their neighborhood, Section 23, has a 90 percent Muslim population and building a Hindu temple there was inappropriate. 

“If there is blood you (the government) will be responsible,” Malaysiakini, an independent news Web site, quoted a protest leader Ibrahim Haji Sabri as saying. 

“I challenge (Selangor government leaders) to go on with the temple construction. I guarantee bloodshed and racial tension,” Ibrahim said amid chants of “Allahu Akbar,” or God is great, the Malaysian Insider, another news Web site, reported. 

Both sites posted pictures of the protest showing a bloodied cow head. 

Muslim Malays and the Chinese and Indians — who are Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim — have generally been careful about not offending each others’ religions. 

But racial tensions have risen in recent years amid complaints by the minorities that their rights are being eroded along with the rising influence of Islamic hard-liners. 

Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam said the incident infuriated Prime Minister Najib Razak, who asked the national police chief to investigate. Witnesses said police stood by and did nothing to stop the protest. 

The demonstration, which occurred days before Malaysia celebrates its independence day on Monday, comes amid a new campaign by Najib to promote national integration by emphasizing equality of all races. 

“The prime minister said he was very upset over the incident and wants it to be nipped in the bud,” Subramaniam said in a statement. 

The protesters condemned Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim of Selangor, one of four states controlled by a three-party opposition coalition that includes an Islamic party. The demonstrators described Khalid, a Muslim, as a traitor to Islam. It was not immediately clear if they were affiliated to any political group. 

The Malaysian Insider quoted a protest leader, Mohammad Zurit Bin Ramli, as saying a temple would disturb Muslim practices. 

“The temple will disrupt our daily activities like prayers. We cannot concentrate with the sounds coming from the temple,” he said. 

Associated Press writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report. 

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

Ref: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h5RWG2ScAdC9V7eo-B6-KfUL3QjgD9ABV6U81

Hindu Rights Reports by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) September 6, 2009

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The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) is a Hindu rights organisation with no affiliations to other religious or political organisations. The organisation interacts with, educates and represents the Hindu voice and works for protecting the interests of Hinduism / Sanatan Dharma. 

HAF publishes an annual Hindu human rights report. These reports cover the cases and issues of what Hindu population faces either as minorities or in general, all across the world. 

Here is a page listing the various reports published by the organisation in some recent years:

http://www.hinduamericanfoundation.org/issues/human_rights

You may also like to visit their homepage: www.hinduamericanfoundation.org

Preparing for the harvest … September 6, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Hindu Rights Register, Religious Conversions.
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A Tahelka article labelled TOP SECRET throws some light over some evangelist designs. Here is the link to this eye-opening article:

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main.asp?filename=ts013004shashi.asp&id=1

Islamists on conversion campaign September 5, 2009

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VR Jayaraj | Kochi

Islamists in Kerala have launched an organised campaign for converting girls belonging to other religions into Islam. Police believe that Islamist organisation NDF (presently Popular Front of India) and its student outfit Campus Front could be behind this campus-based campaign. An investigation is presently on into the matter on the instructions of the Kerala High Court.

Information about this planned campaign came out in the open after two girls in an MBA college in Pathanam-thitta, who had gone missing some days ago, were produced in the HC on a habeas corpus petition. Girls told the court that they were taken to a place in Kozhikode, where a group led by Campus Front activists Shehenshah and Sirajuddeen forced them to convert into Islam and sign marriage contracts.

Lawyer Muhammad Ansari, who appeared in the court for the Government, said there was a planned effort behind the forced conversion of the girls into Islam. In a petition, Jacob Thomas of Pallikkal, Kottarakkara, Kollam and K Madhavan of Peroorkada, Thiruvananth-apruam, parents of the girls, had alleged that their daughters were detained by one Shehansha of Pettah, Pathana-mthitta. Girls were doing a project after completing MBA.

The girls had left their homes informing the parents that they were going to convert into Islam. However, when they were produced in the court on the habeas corpus petition, they said that they were forced to convert into Islam in a deserted house at West Chelari, Kozhikode district where they were taken. Though the court sent the girls with their parents, it ruled that they could be taken to their homes but no restriction should be placed on their food and prayer.

According to Gopakumar, assistant commissioner of police, Cantonment, Thiruva-nanthapuram, who is in charge of the investigation into the campaign of the extremists to convert girls into Islam, as many as 940 girls had gone missing in Kerala in the past five years. He said the truth behind these cases could be brought only after probe.

The police are now in the process of verifying the reports that some Hindu organisations are preparing to counter the Islamists’ designs. A report regarding this would be submitted in the High Court early next month.

However, sources in the police refused to confirm reports regarding an Islamic group specialising in luring young girls for converting into Islam. Reports had appeared in a section of the media in January last that religious Romeos had converted more than 4,000 girls through such designs.

Ref: http://www.dailypioneer.com/198789/Islamists-on-conversion-campaign.html

8 jailed for singing bhajans on CR local September 5, 2009

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Nitasha Natu, TNN 22 August 2009, 03:19am IST

MUMBAI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) cracked down on a satsang group on Friday for singing bhajans on a Central Railway local. The action was  taken after a woman commuter wrote a letter to senior railway officials, complaining of the nuisance.

“We have been conducting a sustained campaign against bhajan groups. On Friday, we arrested eight men who were part of the Hari Om Satsang Mandal. They had books and cymbals with them,” said inspector Ajay Sansare of Byculla RPF.

The accused are all office-goers residing in the eastern suburbs. “A letter written by the woman to the divisional railway manager (DRM) was forwarded to our superiors on August 19. On Friday morning, our team boarded the 9.56 am Thane-CST local at Dadar and kept a watch. Between Currey Road and Byculla stations, the accused, who were singing bhajans, were arrested for creating a nuisance,” Sansare added.

The accused-Subramanium Mudaliar (68), Santosh Parab (39), Ashok Kumar Gaud (30), Sunil More (22), Radheshyam Pal (48), Indersingh Shivnathsingh (32), Anand Garje (27) and G Chakraborty (31)-were produced before a railway court at CST. The magistrate directed them to pay a fine of Rs 500 each and sentenced them to imprisonment till the the court closed for the day.

Ref: Times of India: Aug 22, 2009 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/mumbai/8-jailed-for-singing-bhajans-on-CR-local/articleshow/4920974.cms

Indian priests paraded naked at Pashupatinath September 5, 2009

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IANS: 04 Sep 2009 05:19:21 PM IST

KATHMANDU: The Pashupatinath temple row took an ugly turn in Nepal Friday with a mob assaulting the two newly appointed Indian priests, stripping them naked and tearing off their sacred threads regarded as mandatory for Brahmins. 

Girish Bhatt and Raghavendra Bhatt, the two newly appointed Indian priests, were brought from Karnataka state in India this month to continue the nearly 800-year-old tradition at the revered Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu of employing priests only from the orthodox southern states of India. 

The two hapless men were thrashed within the temple premises Friday as they were readying to worship the deity from Saturday. 

Eyewitnesses said about eight to 10 men, armed with iron rods, stormed a secret room in the temple where the two priests had been confined two days ago, fasting and undergoing a purifying ritual so that they would be able to undertake the ritualistic worship from Saturday. 

The invaders broke open the padlock on the door of the room, dragged the two stunned priests out and beat them up. The attackers also stripped the two men naked and forcibly took video pictures.

Then, in a final insult to the two priests, their sacred white thread were torn off. The priests wear these sacred threads to proclaim that they are Brahmins and have undergone traditional rituals. 

“The attackers tried to drag them away,” said an eyewitness who did not want to be named. “But the abduction bid was foiled after the people in the temple raised a hue and cry and locals gathered.” 

The two shaken priests have been taken to a safe place, temple officials said. 

The attack inside the temple comes after protests began Sunday with at least three organisations banding together to oppose the appointment of Indian priests. 

They have formed a committee to oppose the appointments, saying at a time Nepal is writing a new constitution, Nepali priests should be employed instead of Indians. 

Though the protesters say they have no political affiliation, locals said the attack was led by the Young Communist League, the dreaded strong arm of the Maoists that had spearheaded a similar attack last year. 

Both the new priests’ appointment and the attacks on them come at a time the row is being heard in court. 

For the first time in the history of the 5th century temple, the Mahasnan ritual – the ritualistic bath of the deity – is in jeopardy with the priests saying they feared to carry on with their duties in the absence of security. 

The Indian priest vs Nepali priest row was triggered by the earlier Maoist government last year that sought to stop the old tradition of hiring Indian priests for the Pashupatinath shrine. 

However, the move raised widespread concern in India with major political parties there asking Nepal not to politicise religion and not to hurt the sentiment of two billion Hindus worldwide. 

The protestors have said they would keep up a blockade of the Pashupatinath area and take stronger action if the Indian priests are not sent back. 

Of the five Indian priests who originally served at the shrine, three have already resigned due to the mounting political pressure. 

Both the protesters and the Nepali government allege that the other side is trying to grab the offerings made at the temple daily that runs into thousands of rupees. 

Ref: http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Indian+priests+paraded+naked+at+Pashupatinath&artid=SPqTN6gAXvI=&SectionID=b7ziAYMenjw=&MainSectionID=b7ziAYMenjw=&SectionName=pWehHe7IsSU=&SEO=NEpal,%20Pashupatinath,%20priests,%20Karnataka