TAMPA, FL: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) released today its first annual report on the status of Hindu human rights in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Entitled “Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kashmir: A survey of Human Rights 2004”, the report was prepared by HAF and compiles media coverage and first-hand accounts of human rights violations perpetrated against Hindus because of their religious identity. The 71-page report was delivered prior to its release to the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), who endorsed the report.
“The human rights violations that are occurring against Hindus must no longer be ignored without reprobation,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen after reviewing the HAF report. “Hindus have a history of being peaceful, pluralistic and understanding of other faiths and peoples, yet minority Hindus have endured decades of pain and suffering without the attention of the world.”
The human rights of Hindu citizens are consistently violated in three regions where Hindus constitute a minority: Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Jammu & Kashmir.
PEOPLE”S REPUBLIC OF BANGLADESH
Over 400 documented attacks have taken place on Bangladeshi Hindus between January and November 2004.
These attacks include the day to day acts of murder, rape, kidnapping, temple destruction, and physical intimidation.
Hindus are labeled as “enemies” of Bangladesh. The Enemy Property Order II of 1965, under which property belonging to Hindus was identified as enemy property, was renamed as Vested Property Act in 1972, and under which, the Government of Bangladesh vested itself with alleged enemy properties. Still in force, this Order of the President and the Enemy \ Vested Property Act has not been subjected to any judicial review.
Hindus, who comprised nearly 30% of Bangladesh’s population in 1947, now constitute less than 10% of the population.
By 1991, 20 million Hindus were unaccounted or “missing” according to expected population trends.
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN
Hindus, who constituted between 15% and 24% of Pakistan’s population in 1947, now comprise less than 1.6% of the population.
Nearly 2 million people, many of them Hindus, are held as slaves in “bonded labor” in southern Pakistan.
Kidnapping of vulnerable Hindus is a well-established multi-million dollar industry.
Pakistan officially discriminates against non-Muslims through a variety of laws and strictures. Discriminatory laws include the “anti-blasphemy law” under which anyone who is accused of criticizing the Prophet Muhammad is imprisoned without trial for long periods of time, and mandatory religious identification in passports. Specific discriminatory laws are the Hudood Ordinance of 1979 (offence of Zina, offence of Qazaf, execution of punishment of whipping ordinance), the Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order of 1984 and Qisas & Diyat Ordinance (Section 306 C) of 1991.
JAMMU & KASHMIR
Over 300,000 Kashmiri Hindus have been forced to leave due to ethnic cleansing abetted by Kashmiri Muslims.
These 300,000 Hindus are refugees in their own country, sheltered in temporary camps near Delhi and elsewhere.
More than 3,000 Hindu civilians have been killed, and thousands more Hindu police and army personnel have succumbed to terrorist violence.
There are virtually no Hindus left in the Kashmir Valley; they have all been driven out…