Status of Minorities

Pakistan: Minorities’ rights – Schedule caste Hindu women demand civil rights

Hindu community lacked a sense of identity due to the absence of proper documentation of their marital status.

ISLAMABAD: For several years, Hindu women have been forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men even though they are already married to Hindus. Since there is no evidence to prove their marital status, they are unable to take a legal stand on their issue.

This was stated by schedule caste Hindu women during a press conference on Thursday. (more…)

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Rape of indigenous housewife triggers protest in Tangail

Indigenous leaders here yesterday demanded exemplary punishment to a culprit for rape of an indigenous housewife in Sakhipur upazila and withdrawal of ‘false’ case against the victim’s family.

Several hundred indigenous people belonging to Koch, Barmon and Garo tribes of Tangail and Gazipur districts demonstrated at Tangail Shaheed Minar premises yesterday and held a protest rally there to press the demand.

Tribal Welfare Association of Sakhipur and Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolan jointly organised the protest rally.

With Sakhipur Tribal Welfare Association chairman Rabindra Kumar Barmon in the chair, Gano Forum presidium member Pankaj Bhattachariya, prominent writer Syed Abul Moksud and general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Odhikar Andolan Prof Mezbah Kamal addressed the rally as the main speakers. (more…)

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Attack on Indigenous People in Naogaon: ‘Land grabbers’ still issuing threats

Anwar Ali from Naogaon

Almost 47 families, mostly indigenous, could hardly forget the indiscriminate attack by a group of people on them to grab the victim’s land at Nakhoil Boarambari village in Niamatpur upazila of Naogaon on September 23.

Though two cases were filed with Niamatpur Police Station in this connection, none was arrested as of yesterday. Rather, the “land grabbers” are now threatening them, alleged the families.

Shariful, the alleged “Land grabber”, along with his 60 men equipped with sticks, spears (locally known as ballam), and machetes attacked the houses of the families at dawn on the day, said local people. (more…)

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Bigots vandalise, loot Ahmadiyya houses

Religious bigots vandalised and looted at least 10 houses of the Ahmadiyyas in Chandtara village of the district’s Ghatail upazila early yesterday.

Irate at the move to build an Ahmadiyya mosque in the area, they attacked the houses at around 2:00am and continued pillaging till 6:00am in the morning, local sources said.

Earlier on Saturday, 10 Ahmadiyyas were injured in an attack while returning from the foundation-laying ceremony of the mosque.

Abu Taher Akhand, a member of the Ahmadiyya community, told The Daily Star that paddy, furniture, livestock and household items worth around Tk 10 lakh were looted from his house.

“They made the attack after police left the village,” he said.

His family and dwellers of the other houses however managed to flee to safety, he added. (more…)

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10 hurt in attack on Ahmadiyyas

Ten Ahmadiyyas were injured yesterday when a group of enraged villagers attacked them at Chandtara village of Ghatail upazila yesterday afternoon.

The followers of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Bangladesh came under attack at 2:00pm after inaugurating the construction works of a mosque at Akandapara, local sources said.

The injured were Jafarullah, Mozibor, Halim, Saidur, Arif, Motaher, Abdul Hai and Ibrahim Hossain. Identities of the two other victims could not be ascertained. The injured were sent to Tangail and Dhaka for treatment. (more…)

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Govt plans separate land commission

The government is weighing the idea of constituting a separate commission to settle the disputes over the lands of ethnic minority people living on the plains.
Food and disaster management minister Abdur Razzaque said on Saturday that the prime minister Sheikh Hasina was ‘sincere enough’ to settle the disputes over the lands of ethnic minority people living on the plains.
‘She [prime minister] assured me on Thursday that the government would form a separate commission to settle the disputes over the lands of adivasis living on the plains or empower the commission for Chittagong Hill Tracts to deal with their problems,’ the minister told a seminar on land rights of ethnic minority communities at the LGED auditorium in Dhaka. (more…)

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Call for repeal of blasphemy law

KARACHI: An American Muslim scholar and international minorities’ rights activist visiting here urged the Pakistan government on Friday to reform and eventually repeal all laws believed to be discriminatory against minority groups in the country.

Delivering a lecture on ‘State of religious freedom in South Asia’ at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Safiya Ghori said these laws had ambiguous language and flaws liable to be misused by individuals and groups to promote their own agendas.

Citing the example of last year’s Gojra incident, when a mob of extremists burnt alive at least seven persons in arson attacks on a church and homes of Christians, she said the misuse of the blasphemy laws could entail similar horrendous acts in the future too.

The young advocate of Muslims’ rights in the United States and once herself the victim of religious discrimination in America, she said Islam is a tolerant religion, Pakistani society as a whole is non-violent and a majority of people are open-minded believing in religious diversity. But, she added, a few pockets of extremism here were active against minority groups, be they Christians, Hindus or Sikhs. (more…)

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Minority affairs secy summoned

LAHORE, June 4: The Lahore High Court on Friday summoned Provincial Secretary for Minority Affairs on June 10 on a petition challenging violation of five percent quota allocated for minorities in recruitment of teachers across Punjab.

The court also directed provincial secretary to present complete record regarding implementation of five per cent quota.

Justice Sh Azmat Saeed gave these orders on a petition filed by Christian Progressive Movement Chairperson Naila J Diyal , stating that the federal government issued a notification on May 26, 2009 announcing the “reservation of five per cent quota for employment of minorities, including in CSS exams for federal government service”. (more…)

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Ahmadi man stabbed to death in Narowal

LAHORE: An Ahmadi man was stabbed to death by an enraged man in Pakistan on Monday, just days after gun, grenade and suicide attacks targeting the religious minority killed more than 80 people, police said.

The stabbing took place in the town of Narowal, some 100 kilometres northeast of Lahore, where suspected militants wearing suicide vests burst into prayer halls on Friday and killed 82 worshippers.

“In the morning, a man identified as Abid Butt climbed the wall of the house of a local Ahmadi family and stabbed Naimatullah, 55, and his son Mansoor Ahmed,” local police station chief Riaz Sangha told AFP by telephone. (more…)

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HRCP group begins work to highlight threats based on belief – A working group established by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

(HRCP) has formally started working to highlight the challenges and discrimination faced by the communities across the country on account of their belief

by: I. A. Rehman Secretary – General

Lahore, June 15, 2010: A working group established by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has formally started working to highlight the challenges and discrimination faced by the communities across the country on account of their belief.

The HRCP Working Group on Rights of Communities Vulnerable Because of their Belief, which was launched last week, comprises members of Christian, Hindu, Bahai, Ahmedi, Zoroastrian, Sikh and Muslim communities.

The group has decided to give priority to initiatives to highlight human rights violations and concerns; analysis of discriminatory laws and practices and recommending appropriate changes; and scrutiny of circumstances that allow advocacy of hatred based on religious beliefs, which constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. (more…)

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