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Hindu girl forced to convert to Islam April 24, 2010

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Posted: Apr 23, 2010 at 1755 hrs IST

Islamabad

A Hindu girl from Punjab province was kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam and is currently being held in a madrassa, leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney said today.

Burney said his rights organisation, the Ansar Burney Trust International, had learnt that 15-year-old Gajri, the daughter of Mengha Ram, was abducted by a Muslim neighbour from her home at Katchi Mandi, Liaquatpur, in Rahim Yar Khan district on December 21, 2009.

Gajri’s parents later found out that she was beingheld captive in a madrassa or seminary in southern Punjab and that she had been married and converted to Islam, Burney said.

The local administration is “refusing to respond to the abduction” of the girl, who is not being allowed to leave the madrassa or to speak to her parents, he said.

Burney, a former human rights minister, condemned the forceful conversion of the Hindu girl and demanded her immediate release.

“Pakistan is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which oblige authorities to protect religious minorities under international law,” he said.

According to Ansar Burney Trust, on 21 December 2009 Gajri disappeared from the home of her Hindu parents in southern Punjab.

On December 26 last year, the local police station in Gajri’s hometown received a letter with an affidavit from madrassa that said she had “embraced Islam and had married her neighbour Mohammad Salim”, Burney said. The letter did not enclose a marriage certificate, he said.

Police did not immediately inform Gajri’s parents about the letter even though they had tried to file a First Information Report after she had gone missing. The parents were discouraged from doing so by police, Burney said.

Mengha Ram and his wife then contacted the vice president of the National Peace Committee for Interfaith Harmony, Ramesh Jay Pal. With his help, the parents met the priest in charge of Darul-Uloom Madrassa in Khanpur, Maulana Abdul Hafeez. Hafeez reportedly told the parents that Gajri had “embraced Islam and was not allowed to meet her parents”.

In January this year, the parents of Gajri again tried to file a case of abduction against their neighbour and the madrassa but their application was refused by district police chief Imtiaz Gul. He allegedly told them that he had no power to intervene in matters of religious conversion and that their daughter was now the “property of the madrassa”, Burney said.

Burney said Gajri is a minor and “cannot arbitrarily be removed from the custody of her parents”. He urged President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer to intervene to ensure Gajri’s released.

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Hindu-girl-forced-to-convert-to-Islam/610492/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+expressindia%2FiKgY+(Expressindia)

UP to reward inter-religion, inter-caste marriages October 5, 2009

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PTI 5 October 2009, 05:32pm IST

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh government will give cash incentive and interest-free loan to couples opting for inter-caste or inter-religion

marriages to set up cottage industries, a national integration departemnt spokesman said here on Monday.

“On application, such couples may get interest-free loan of upto Rs 15,000 subject to approval by the district industries centre,” he

said.

The loan sanctioned will be payable after a period of two years in 10 equal half-yearly installments.

“Such couples will also get a cash reward of Rs 10,000 and a medal,” the spokesman said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/UP-to-reward-inter-religion-inter-caste-marriages/articleshow/5090640.cms

Kerala Dalit group under scanner: police October 5, 2009

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Indo-Asian News Service
Kochi, September 29, 2009

The Kerala police are looking into the activities of a Dalit organisation after two of its key leaders were arrested in a murder case, an official said in Kochi on Monday.

Speaking about the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM), Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose told reporters in Kochi, “We know of this organization but we have to probe whether they have any terror links.” Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy criticised the police for not doing enough to curb the activities of DHRM.

He was speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram after visiting the house of Sivaprasad, a resident of Varkala who was brutally murdered allegedly by a DHRM activist last Wednesday.

DHRM has a strong base in Varkala, especially among the numerous colonies where Dalits live.

“It is unfortunate that the Kerala home department failed to find out the activities of the DHRM. Even though there have been increased reports of DHRM taking to violence, the police failed to act. At the same time, one should not brand all Dalits in this manner,” said Chandy.

Two activists of the DHRM arrested on Sunday were remanded in judicial custody on Monday. Those arrested include Ashokan, an advocate, and Das – both key leaders of DHRM.

Meanwhile, Sasi, a resident of one of the colonies where DHRM has a strong presence, told reporters that while his close relatives had joined the DHRM, he had not.

“Since I refused to join them, I was badly beaten up by my own brother, though we never had any enmity before,” said Sasi, who ekes out a living doing odd jobs. Another person from the same place said the activities of DHRM are quite strange.

“The members of this group, even if they belong to the same family, address each other in a different manner. Their ideology too sounded strange and was not acceptable to me and I stayed away,” said the person.

Kumari was in tears as she recounted to reporters how her son was brutally beaten up by members of DHRM after he refused to join them.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/459116.aspx

Govt looks to ensure Muslims, Christians don’t get into SC list October 5, 2009

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Subodh Ghildiyal, TNN 9 October 2008, 04:43am IST

NEW DELHI: The proposal to give Scheduled Caste status to a child with either parents as Dalit has taken a curious turn, with the Centre making changes to ensure that it does not give a backdoor entry to Christians and Muslims into the SC list which is restricted to Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists.

Social justice ministry has revived the proposal by which it plans to make a child eligible for SC status if either the mother or father are SC. It seeks to undo a Supreme Court ruling that caste in Indian context flows from the father, clarifying that child of a non-Dalit father cannot be a Dalit.

After hanging fire for over two years, during which it attracted opposition from different quarters including National Commission for SCs, the ministry has modified the proposal with a small twist of real consequence.

The earlier draft merely said “the child born of inter-caste marriage shall be taken as belonging to SC if either of the parents belong to that community”. It has now been modified to include that “if either of the parent belong to such a caste (SC) and the other parent belongs to neither SC nor ST but professes one of the religions which a person belonging to SC may profess”.

The fresh move means that SC status to children from mixed parentage would require the non-Dalit parent to be either Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh. Only the followers of these three faiths are eligible for SC status.

The change, sources said, is to accommodate concerns over the proposal. It was feared that if SC status was made available to a child from mixed parentage, it could undo the religion barrier put on being a Dalit. While Dalit converts to Christianity and Islam have been demanding that SC category be extended to them, the Centre has found it too sensitive to handle. It was feared that Hindutva outfits would oppose the move as they have been arguing that making Dalit status religion-neutral would encourage conversions.

If a child with either parent as Dalit was given SC status without a bar of religion, it would be tantamount to encouraging the same, it was argued. The sensitivity of Dalit status for converts can be gauged from the fact that UPA government has it on the backburner after having set up Rangnath Mishra commission to examine it and having got a favourable recommendation.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/Govt-looks-to-ensure-Muslims-Christians-dont-get-into-SC-list/articleshow/3575726.cms

Embrace Islam, say YouTube ‘Shankaracharyas’ October 5, 2009

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Anuraag Singh, Hindustan Times
Varanasi, September 23, 2009

The likely successor to the Shankaracharya of northern and western India is very angry at popular web portal YouTube showing video clips of two ‘fake’ Shankaracharyas, one of who exhorts viewers to embrace Islam and the other explains why he converted to Islam.

He is so enraged that he has decided to seek the intervention of President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “on this burning issue”.

“We’re also seeking the opinion of experts to proceed legally against the web portal for featuring these video clips which are bound to hurt Hindu sentiments across the world,” Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati of the Jyotishpeeth and Shardapeeth told HT here on Wednesday.

The clips show one of the men dressed in a red robe and the other clad in white pyjamas and sleeveless half-coat, sporting a skull cap and thin beard.

One clip (of 9.20 minutes) shows an old man holding the signature stick of the first Shankaracharya going by the name and title of ‘Devanand Saraswati, Jagatguru Shankaracharya’.

He tells a gathering in Hindi that Islam is the greatest religion in the world and that the first verse of the Quran should motivate Hindus to convert to Islam. The man calls upon the whole world to adopt Islam, adding that those against Islam are devils. “I don’t love those who don’t love Muslims,” he says in the clip.

The second clip of over four minutes shows a young man going by the name of ‘Acharya Sanjay Prasad Dwivedi-turned-Ahmed Pandit’ and bearing the title of the ‘Varanasi Shankar Acharya (sic)’.

This man says in Hindi that he was a Hindu priest in Varanasi who delved deep into the study of the Quran for three years and converted to Islam. Strangely, he is shown speaking at a gathering with a banner reading ‘Health Ministry’ behind him.

Swami Avimukteshwaranand said the two men are frauds as Hindus all over the world recognise only three Shankaracharyas who head the four peeths or religious centres established by the first or Adi Shankaracharya in 500 BC.

The four peeths were set up by him at Joshi Mutt in Uttarakhand, Puri in Orissa, Sringeri in Karnataka and Dwarka in Gujarat. The first Shankaracharya propounded the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Sanatan Dharma, one of the main streams of Hinduism.

Swami Avimukteshwaranand is to likely to succeed Swami Swarupanand Saraswati as the the Shankaracharya of the religious centres called the Jyotishpeeth and Shardapeeth, which are located in Uttarakhand and Gujarat.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/457328.aspx

Uneasy calm in flood-hit temple town Mantralayam in AP October 5, 2009

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PTI, Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hyderabad: An absolute silence prevails in the famous temple town of Mantralayam in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, which was ravaged by the floods in the river Tungabhadra — a tributary of Krishna river.

The holy town, otherwise bustling with pilgrims, wore a deserted look with the town remaining under several feet of flood water for the past three days. Flood water had even surrounded the sanctum sanctorum housing the holy Brindavan of the Madhwa saint Sri Raghavendra Swamiji.

People across India throng Mantralayam, situated on the bank of the Tungabhadra, to offer their prayers at Raghavendra Swamiji’s Brindavan (where swamiji attained live samadhi).

Though, the water-level has receded today, but, not the woes of the people, particularly pilgrims who saved their lives by moving to rooftops of the buildings surrounding the Raghavendra Swamiji’s mutt, when the town was marooned.

After the water level receded today, the district administration has begun cleaning up the debris and lifting the bodies of humans and scores of cattle that were strewn in the streets, official sources said adding that relief and medical camps were set up in the temple town.

Power supply was yet to be restored, the sources said. Rescue workers recovered at least four bodies from several places in the town and search efforts were on to locate more bodies, if any in the flood-stricken areas.

Two arrested for throwing beef at idol in Orissa October 5, 2009

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PTI, Sunday, October 4, 2009
 
Rourkela: Two persons were arrested on charges of throwing beef at an idol of Goddess Laxmi at a community puja pandal in Orissa’s Sundargarh district today, police said.

A large number of people gathered in front of the puja pandal at Bolonda village about 25km from here and blocked the road for about four hours demanding arrest of the culprits, police said.

A police force led by superintendent of police, Diptesh Patnaik rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control, police sources said. About two kg beef had been seized from near the idol and two persons, Fransis Ekka and Ajit Munda – allegedly involved in the incident had been nabbed, the sources said.

However, the brother of Fransis, claimed to be the main culprit is at large. The three had allegedly slaughtered a cow at a nearby field this morning before indulging in the incident, they said. Police force had been deployed in the village to maintain law and order and efforts to nab the main culprit is on, they said.

Citizenship for Lankan refugees under consideration, says PC October 5, 2009

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TNN 4 October 2009, 06:16am IST

CHENNAI: Chief minister M Karunanidhi’s request to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to “legally regularize” the stay of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in 
Tamil Nadu is under the consideration of the Centre, Union home minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday.

“We have received his letter in this regard and it is under consideration,” he told reporters, after calling on Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence.

In a conference held at Kancheepuram last week, the ruling DMK adopted a resolution, indicating that steps would be taken to allow over one lakh Tamil refugees living in different camps in the state to become permanent citizens.

To a query on the proposal to send a delegation of MPs to Sri Lanka to study the situation in the island nation, Chidambaram said that such an idea was also being examined.

The Union minister, who held a 30-minute-long discussion with Karunanidhi, said the issue of rehabilitating the internally-displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka, now staying in camps, back in their hometowns was discussed at the meeting.

“The chief minister has given some suggestions and we have also raised some points. A decision will be made after external affairs minister S M Krishna holds consultations with the prime minister,” he added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/chennai/Citizenship-for-Lankan-refugees-under-consideration-says-PC/articleshow/5085189.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