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2017 Hindu Human Rights Report Released by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) : Here is What you Need to Know!

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Hindu Human Rights Report
Hindu people. Wikimedia
  • The Hindu American Foundation has launched its 2017 edition of “Hindus in South Asia & The Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights” also known as the Hindu Human Rights Report
  • The Hindu American Foundation launched its first report in 2004 
  • It aims to highlight Human Rights violations against Hindu Diaspora in South Asia

June 20, 2017:

The Background

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) on Monday, 19th June 2017, launched their 2017 edition of “Hindus in South Asia & The Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights” Report, also known as the Hindu Human Rights Report.

HAF is an advocacy organization that educated the public on Hinduism and the issues that affect Hindus worldwide. Since 2004, the HAF has published Reports on Hindu Human Rights. It seeks to highlight the threats that Hindus face in South Asia.

The research that goes into these reports is extensive. Allied organizations such as Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD), Bangladesh Minority Watch (BMW), the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), Malaysian Hindu Foundation (MHF) and Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), among many others provide the necessary information that is thus revealed in the reports.

The 2017 Report

The report observes Human Rights of Hindus violated across 9 countries and 1 Indian state where Hindus are in Minority. These are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, and finally the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Out of these, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Bangladesh, and Malaysia are branded as “Egregious Violators” as they have constantly allowed the Human Rights violations of Hindus. Interestingly, the HAF had also recognized these same states as Egregious Violators in its 2016 report.

Afghanistan: Afghanistant faces numerous security threats and instability. The presence of Taliban and ISIS has officially led to the crisis of the country with the ongoing violence and Human Rights Violation. In a country where Islam is the dominant religion at 99.7%, the situation for the minorities in the country is apalling. The HAF 2017 Hindu Human Rights Report states the plight of minority groups. According to the report, “Hindus and Sikhs lack cremation rights and are often attacked and humiliated while trying to cremate their dead.”

The reports further add how Hindu and Sikh children in particular are faced by bullies and harassed for their religious beliefs. The parents live in constant fear that their daughters might be abducted and married off to a Muslim. Sikh and Hindus also face unemployment, particularly in the government sector.

Such conditions have drastically reduced the Hindu and Sikh population in Afghanistan. HAF estimates only 200 families remaining, as compared to 200,000 in 1970s.

Hindu Human rights report
Terror in Afghanistan has created insecurity especially for the minority groups. Wikimedia

Bangladesh: The report observes a significant increase in religiously motivated violence over the past few years. On Diwali day, 15 temples were reportedly ransacked. “The beheadings of Hindu priests and secular bloggers, abductions and conversions of Hindu girls, and forced occupation of minority owned lands also continued throughout the year unabated.” said the report.

The rise of Islamist terror groups has also worsened the situation. Extremist groups such as Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), al-Qaeda in the India subcontinent (AQIS), ISIS, Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) have created an atmosphere of instability and insecurity.

In an incident that was shameful to say the least, Islamist militants took hostages in a bakery. They asked the hostages to recite versions of the Koran and those that did not or could not were shot dead. 20 people were killed a a result of that.

The political elites of the country have been absolutely ignorant of the problem. The Awami League (AL) has not voiced any sympathy or answers to the problem. Rather, bloggers and journalists have been supressed.

The discrimination can be seen in the political representation as well. Religious minorities are underrepresentated. The Rapid Action Battallion (RAB) and other Bangladeshi forces are also accused of Human Right violations. “Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, and torture of prisoners” is a frequent against the minorities.

The Hindu and Buddhists are thus distancing themselves from Bangladesh. Hindu population has declines from 31% to less than 10%.

Hindu Human Rights Report
Many Indians work in Bangladesh. Wikimedia

Pakistan: We have read about numerous cases of discrimination, assault and harassment against Hindus in Pakistan. The situation in 2016 was just as severe. The report states “Human rights and religious freedom conditions continued to deteriorate at an unprecedented rate in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 2016. Pakistan’s widespread violation of human rights and its toler- ance of human rights violations by non-state actors demonstrate a blatant disregard for international human rights norms and its obligations under human rights treaties and conventions.”

Forcer conversions of Hindu (or christianity) to Islam has continued in 2016. HAF estimate 1000 people abducted and converted last year. The abductions is even more brutal to the women who are married off to Muslims, raped or “sold”.

The report also notes the “depiction of non muslims in textbooks.” Children are often taught to reject pluralism. Hindus are also used in the insensitive bonded labor system. While the reports acknowledge Pakistan’s decision to pass Hindu Marriage Bill in March 2017 as a “positive step”, the militant problem remains unsolved.

The report also mentions the 1000 bodies of Baloch activists recovered in Balochistan province since past 6 years, highlighting the abuse of power and weapons by authorities and security forces.

Hindu Human Rights Report
The Pakistan Army controls the country. Wikimedia

Malaysia: Hindus continued to face economic marginalization due to the Bumiputra policy which favors the majority muslims. Malaysia’s constitution itself gives preference to Muslim majority. Furthermore, Islam is the official state religion of the country. Hindu temples have been demolished and Hindus have been forced to relocate in 2016. The Shariat law has been imposed on Hindus and other minority groups.

ISIS has also been able to garner support of the muslim majority in Malaysia. Minority groups have been suppressed. The LGBT activists have been abused by the men in power.

Hindu Human Rights Report
The Malaysian Army. Wikimedia

The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir: Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir has seen escalating violence and conflict, especially since the death of Burhan Wahi (commander of Hizbul Mujahideen). Kashmiri Pandits have been the target in this political unrest. We know of the incidents in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, but even in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, human rights violations have given rise to Kashmiri Pandit activists. The tense situation has prompted a remark from US State Department which raised concerns over the issue.

The reports also note how ISI and Pakistan sponsor terrorism and fuel violence. Hindus have sought refuge in other parts of the country where social and economic conditions for them are deplorable.

Hindu Human Rights report
Stone Pelters in Kashmir. VOA

These were the Egrogious States. Five more nations commit human rights violations against Hindus. The HAF explores these violations and addresses them extensively. It ennumerates various policy reforms that can further the objective of co-existence. The full report can be found on the HAF website. The 2017 report has dsicussed crucial topics such as refugee problem, growing islamist terror, discrimination in political and economic sphere, religion hate crimes and violence against women.

It becomes important to address these issues especially since Hinduism is about pluralism and dignity.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)

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‘World’s Oldest’ Buddha Statue Unearthed in Pakistan During Excavations

A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

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Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue is found excavated in Pakistan. Pixabay.

Islamabad, November 17: A centuries-old sleeping Buddha statue has been unearthed during excavations near Bhamala Stupa in Haripur district of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology And Museums Director Abdul Samad told Dawn News: “The 48-feet-long sleeping Buddha statue dates back to the third century, which makes it the world’s oldest sleeping Buddha statue.”

He said that archaeologists found the statue, with its head intact, during excavations near the Bhamala Stupa.

“We have discovered more than 500 Buddha-related objects during excavations, in addition to the 48-feet long ‘sleeping Buddha’,” he said.

The latest discoveries by the archaeologists have opened new chapters in the history of the ancient Taxila Valley Civilisation.

“This is one of the few sites in the world to have the cruciform Stupa, which was reserved for Buddha himself,” Samad had said. (IANS)