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Hindu girl forced to convert to Islam April 24, 2010

Posted by reader111 in Hindu Rights Register, Uncategorized.
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Posted: Apr 23, 2010 at 1755 hrs IST


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.



Pakistan an ordinary nation March 8, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Pakistan.
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Salil Tripathi


So many myths came crashing down in Lahore. That Pakistan is an ordinary country with extraordinary problems. That Pakistan’s security forces are hand-in-glove with terrorists. That extremists would never attack cricketers.


In the end, the horror near the Gaddafi Stadium showed how the bizarre becomes the ordinary: Witness the number of people who said: “I told you so,” as cricket boards congratulated themselves for having avoided touring Pakistan. Recall, too, that all the dead are Pakistanis —all but one of them brave security guards who laid down their lives to protect the cricketers, nailing the myth that all Pakistanis are complicit with terrorism. And then the third myth—when Imran Khan said, the week before the Mumbai attacks, that cricket is safe from terror. How could one be so sure in a country where so many rules of war have been broken?


But Khan believed it just as Pakistan wanted to believe in another idea, which had better not be a myth—that it is a normal country—for the alternative—a nuclear-armed failed state—is too horrible to contemplate. Many, if not most, Pakistanis want to live normal lives. Their families want to go to Clifton in Karachi and admire the sunset. Their teenagers want to go hiking in the Karakoram, and their rich like to ski on the slopes of the Swat valley. They want their kids to go to schools that teach math and computers, and not only scriptures and hate-filled history. They take delight in the peccadilloes of Bollywood stars and hum along with the songs of the rock group, Junoon. They post videos critical of generals on YouTube and write blogs challenging their politicians who succumb to the mullahs and the military. Their lawyers protest the removal of the Supreme Court’s chief justice, and their novelists ridicule the pious nonsense of their imams and generals with an aplomb that’s lacking in the more didactic “socially relevant” fiction of new Indian authors. And they want to go to a stadium, to admire some nice stroke-play, inspired bowling and exceptional fielding.


And it is that normalcy which the terrorists attack, because the terrorists want what’s regular to be the unexpected, and the unexpected to make you afraid, and not wonder. That means audaciously razing Islamabad’s premier hotel; ruthlessly assassinating a politician who thought this time, the third time, she’d get it right; brazenly attacking presidential convoys; boldly humiliating the government by demanding, and getting, a large chunk of territory where only their peculiar tribal interpretation of religious laws would apply, not national laws or international norms. In this topsy-turvy universe, a conniving, petty trader of nuclear secrets, who saw a new world order in a mushroom cloud, is released from house arrest, and a foreign correspondent meeting a contact outside the hotel gets beheaded.


Finally, it is that peculiar country where its President has in the past claimed to be suffering from mental illness to avoid a corruption trial while in exile, and upon assuming presidency used all methods to get a rival politician outlawed, even though working with him to ward off the twin threats the cantonment and the mosque represent is in the interest of the nation’s fragile democracy.


That’s the universe many Pakistanis inhabit—caught between intransigent generals, incompetent politicians and intolerant mullahs. They don’t need reminding what terrorism is; they live with it. They have lost thousands of civilians and soldiers in the past decade. They live with the consequences of cynical, cold, political choices and compromises their leaders have made on their behalf.


And yet, many in India don’t see that reality, and see all Pakistanis as extremists, as if all of them accept at face value the rants of Zahid Hamid on Pakistani television—who believes everything that’s evil is because of “Hindu Zionist” conspiracy.


We must then learn to separate that sinister fringe from the Pakistani men and women who don’t believe in juvenile jihadis. We must not succumb to the idea—as Simi Garewal momentarily did (though she was hardly alone) —that if only we bomb Pakistan, all problems will be solved. Starting a war is a not a choice as easy as sending a “Yes” SMS to a televise on channel desperate to improve ratings, and which wants politicians to announce foreign policy manoeuvres on live television. It also means we must prevent our own saffron Taliban, which wants to empty our bookshops of Pakistani writers, and prevent Pakistani artists from performing in our theatres.


At its simplest, it means not gloating at what Ahmed Rashid calls Pakistan’s descent into chaos, but to appreciate Pakistanis’ struggle to reclaim their country from the triumvirate Tariq Ali describes as “greedy generals, corrupt politicians and bearded lunatics”.


That’s not easy. Building a civil society never is. It needs nerves of steel. We must wish strength to the millions in Pakistan who have that resolve.


Salil Tripathi is a writer based in London. Your comments are welcome at salil@livemint.com



Maharaja Hari Singh January 25, 2009

Posted by reader111 in History.
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From the Dogra lineage, Hari Singh, assumed power in 1925 and ruled till 1948.


He introduced many reforms, which included throwing open all public schools, colleges and wells to the untouchables in 1931. The next year, all state temples were also thrown open to them. In 1940, he proclaimed untouchability a cognizable offence. He was also responsible for two more important social reforms. One was the prevention of juvenile smoking and the other was the removal of legal disabilities on the marriage of Hindu widows.


Equally important was the change, which occurred in India’s political atmosphere. On the national scene, two distinct political groups dominated – the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. In the state, anti-monarchy forces were gaining ground under Sheikh Abdullah who arose as a charismatic leader of the Kashmiri Muslims and led a strong anti-Dogra agitation, the “Quit Kashmir” movement in 1931.


Hari Singh was unable to adjust to the fact that monarchy was on the decline and could not grasp the importance of evolving with the changing political scenario.


In 1947, following the partition of the sub-continent, there arose the question of the settling the position of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state had the choice of either going with India or with Pakistan.


Hari Singh proved indecisive at this crucial juncture. He offered a standstill agreement with India and Pakistan.


Pakistan signed it but India did not. Violating the agreement, Pakistan inflicted an economic blockade followed soon by a tribal invasion of the state on October 22, 1947.


Hari Singh requested India to send in troops but Mountbatten, India’s governor-general, put a condition for the help:   Accession first and troops later. On October 26, 1947, Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession brought to him by VP Menon, the Centre’s emissary. Thereafter, Indian troops landed in Srinagar on October 27, 1947, to quell the invasion.


But the tide was clearly against Hari Singh. He had the forces aligned against him in the Centre and the state. He nursed an animosity towards Nehru because Nehru supported his archrival Sheikh Abdullah.


His attempts to bring about changes in the state and efforts to retain power did not yield results. Clearly, Sheikh Abdullah was the chosen leader of the Kashmiri Muslims.


In 1934, Hari Singh had sanctioned the creation of a Legislative Assembly called the Jammu & Kashmir Praja Sabha. In the first elections to the Praja Sabha, the Muslim Conference bagged 14 seats out of 21 reserved for the Muslims. In the next election in 1936, it was able to raise its strength to 19. This established the claim of the Conference to be called the major political party in the state. In June 1939, however, Sheikh Abdullah broke away from the Muslim Conference and established a new party, the National Conference, which soon secured a large following.


Hari Singh acceded to the popular demand for more power to be given to the Praja Sabha. He called upon the Praja Sabha to nominate a panel of six members (three Muslims). From this panel he nominated two members as his Ministers, one of whom was a Muslim. This step was welcomed by all sections of the Assembly and led to the appointment of Mirza Afzal Beg and Ganga Ram as the Ministers. The former belonged to the National Conference while the latter was a Dogra politician.


With increasing feeling among the Kashmiris in the state that they should be granted more rights and Sheikh Abdullah gaining in authority, Hari Singh retired to Bombay. Apparently, it was felt that it would help if he were away from the state for some time. His son, Karan Singh, then only 17, took over as Regent of the state on June 20, 1949.


Under him, elections to the State Constituent Assembly were held. National Conference won all the 75 seats. In its very first session of October 1951, the assembly abolished the Monarchy and with this Dogra rule in this state came to an end.


Maharaja Hari Singh breathed his last at Bombay on April 26, 1961.


Ref: http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=ddda86d7-db79-41e9-a138-581279cd9ee1