Concern over declining Hindu population in Asia

CDPHR releases human rights report of 7 neighboring countries of India

  • Daily 632 minorities flee from Bangladesh, no Hindu will survive after 25 years
  • Condition of religious minorities as well as minority Shias and Ahmadis in Pakistan is bad.

 

New Delhi: The Center for Democracy Pluralism and Human Rights (CDPHR) has released a report on human rights in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, including Tibet. This report has been prepared keeping in mind the civil equality, their dignity, justice and democracy in all the countries. The report was compiled by a team of academics, lawyers, judges, media personnel and researchers. It mentions the human rights situation in India’s 7 neighboring countries, which is as follows.

1. Pakistan

According to the report, the status of religious minorities as well as minority Shias and Ahmadis in Pakistan is also very bad. It is also an offense under Section 298B-2 for Ahmania Muslims to use the word Azaan. Furthermore, Pakistan’s legal framework is not in line with international citizens and political authorities. Religious minorities – Hindu, Sikh and Christian women have high rates of kidnapping, rape, forced conversions etc. Religious minorities are also intimidated and threatened.

While Pakistan’s Constitution provides equal rights to all citizens on paper, the reality is, religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmadis even Shias – are treated as non-citizens in the country. Religious tolerance in Pakistan has steadily declined. The data collected in the census of 1998 revealed that Hindus constitute just 1.6% and Christians 1.59% of the total population of Pakistan.

Minor girls from the minority communities are targeted by the Muslim-dominated population in a bid to convert the remaining population. According to Asian Human Rights Watch reports, each month there are at least 20-25 cases of kidnappings and forced conversion of Hindu girls in Sindh region of Pakistan. According to a report released by the Movement of Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan, up to 300 Hindu women are forced to convert and marry Muslim men every year in Pakistan.

Major form of violence perpetrated against religious minorities is in the form of physical attacks, killings of popular community leaders from the minority, destruction of cultural symbols and places of worship, honor killings, rapes and acid attacks.

Making use of blasphemy as a legal way to persecute minorities, mobs attack homes, businesses and religious places belonging to the Hindu and other minority communities. Highlighting the recent gross human right violation in Pakistan, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had expressed concerns when Hindus and Christians were denied food amid coronavirus outbreak in Pakistan.

2. Bangladesh

According to Abul Barkat, a professor at Dhaka University, 2,30,612 people have been forced to flee every year in the last four decades. Its average daily is 632 people. If the migration continues at the same pace then no Hindu will survive after 25 years. In 1975, the term “secularism” was removed from the constitution and the verses of the Quran were retained, and in 1988 Islam was declared the religion of the country. In addition, the demographics of the Chittagong Hill Tracts were also systematically altered. In 1951, 90 percent of the population was Buddhist, down from 55 percent in 2011.

A “secular” nation at the time of formation, Bangladesh, in just 4 years after gaining independence, removed the word secular from the constitution and included verses from the Quran, thereby, declaring it as an Islamic country. Violence against religious and ethnic minority women remains a popular tool by Islamists in Bangladesh to attack and dominate the minorities.

When the globe was reeling under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, between January to August 2020, 889 cases of rapes and 191 cases of attempted rapes out of which 41 girls/women were murdered after rape and 13 committed suicide were reported.

The Hindu population in Bangladesh is soon depleting from 23% in 1951 to 9% in 2017. As per a study, at the present rate of persecution, there will be no Hindus in Bangladesh in the next 25 years.

Since the past seven decades, there has not been a single decade without large-scale violence against religious minorities, violation of their religious right to practice faith, abductions, rapes and killings of their girls, desecration of their religious places and symbols. Around 400-500 Hindus are forced to leave the country every day. According to a Minority Rights Report, 8.1 million Hindus are ‘missing’ as per the records between 1964 to 2001, which makes it 219,000 people annually.

An environment of animosity has been created to make the minorities feel like second-class citizens including calling Bengali Hindus ‘Malaun’, a slur that means accursed people. Moreover religious sanctions to kill kaffirs have led to increased violence against the minorities.

3. Afghanistan

The report expresses concern about human rights and discriminatory policies towards minorities in Afghanistan. According to Afghanistan’s constitution, only a Muslim can become the country’s president and prime minister. According to the 1970 census, there were 700,000 Hindus and Sikhs, but now only 200 families remain.

It is interesting to note that, our neighbor Afghanistan does not recognize or define the term ‘minority’ in its constitution, let alone making any special provisions for them. As per the July 2011 UNHCR report, around 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus lived in Afghanistan in 1990. However, persecution of Hindus and Sikhs has increased drastically in recent years, forcing most of them out of the country. As per a South Asia State of Minorities Report, 2018, their numbers have been reduced down to a mere 220 families.

Reports suggest an increase in restricted freedom to follow a religion, forced conversions, abductions and killings. The report also highlights the despicable act of snatching creamation grounds dedicated to the minorities.

The Taliban regime has released orders for the non-Muslims which forbids non-Muslims from building places of worship but allowed them to worship at existing holy sites; forbade non-Muslims from criticizing Muslims; ordered non-Muslims to identify their houses by placing a yellow cloth on their rooftops; forbade non-Muslims from living in the same residence as Muslims; and required that non-Muslim women wear a yellow dress with a special mark so that Muslims could keep distance from them. In addition to the daily economic and social discrimination, sometimes manifesting as physical and verbal abuse, freedom to practice their religion has also been curtailed. Kabul, once home to eight Sikh places of worship or gurdwaras, most stand destroyed at present. Hindu women were forced to wear burqas against their will.

To add to it, the Afghan government has not been submitting state reports concerning socio-economic and political rights of minorities, women and children to international human rights conventions and organizations.

4. Malaysia

Malaysia has a discriminatory law in favor of Bhumiputra. The rights of gay minorities are also being violated there.

Malaysia recognizes Islam as the state religion, making it difficult for other religions to practice their faith freely. Over the past few decades, Malaysia has made a huge transition towards the Wahhabi philosophy. The Saudi Arabia funding to the Malaysian government, especially under the Najib Razak government, led the country towards a more hard-line stance on matters related to religion and social life.

Religious conversions have increased over the past few years making minorities a vulnerable group. In a strange law system, the Islamic Shariah law runs along parallel tracks with the civil court laws. This means that if a dispute arises between a Muslim and non-Muslim, the Shariah court can intervene and take the matter into its hands to safeguard a Muslim even if he/she has committed an offense against a Hindu or any other minority.

5. Indonesia

Religious bigotry and intolerance has increased over the years in Indonesia. The major religious Islamic leaders of the country were also named in the 2002 bombings in Bali. In 2012, Balinaguru witnessed several incidents against religious minorities, including attacks on Hindus.

Rising radicalism in Indonesia has had repercussions on Hindus, Buddhists, Christians women and children. In the last two decades, the country has witnessed a strong influence of inter-religious conflicts. Large-scale conversions have been carried out by Islamic seminaries forcefully in the region of West Papua and other islands where there is a predominance of other non-Islamic adherents.

For the last decade, Indonesia has witnessed increasing supremacy of Islamic religious authorities, creating hurdles by making rules to prevent inter-religious marriages, and making them more pro-Islamic. There has been an attempt to re-Islamize the country and the fundamental rights of women have been crushed under Sharia law.

Indonesia has also rejected the seventy-five recommendations of the United Nations’ member countries recommendations to improve Indonesia’s human rights violations. They ranged from the draconian blasphemy law to death penalty, however, the Indonesian government’s shut the discussion by declaring the recommendations as “hard to accept” for the country.

6. Tibet

According to the report, China is trying to hide the human rights situation in Tibet through various sanctions. China is also trying to destroy Tibet’s social, religious, cultural and linguistic identity.

Since the communist government of China has occupied Tibet in 1951, it has adopted severe crackdown measures and flooded Chinese soldiers and paramilitary forces in the region. The atrocities committed against the local population is beyond belief.

Tibetans are being deprived of their rights to use their language in terms of teaching their children in their own language, forceful imposition of atheism, criminalizing peaceful assembly, association and protests, prolonged pre-trial detentions of Tibetan activists to extract forced confessions used to sentence them to harsh punishments, restrictions to practice their religion and a complete crackdown on journalistic freedom. There are just a few highlighted issues from the report indicating the grim condition of the local community.

7. Sri Lanka

One lakh people lost their lives and 20,000 Tamils ​​went missing during the 26 years of civil war in Sri Lanka. The Center for Democracy Pluralism and Human Rights report has also raised concerns over the status of human rights and religious minorities in Sri Lanka. Talking about the civil war, the report suggested that at least 100,000 people lost their lives and 20,000 Tamils ​​disappeared in the 26-year-long civil war.

Disclaimer: This story was compiled from two news portals: 1.  SOURCE LINK and 2.  SOURCE LINK 

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