Friday August 17, 2018
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In Dadri, Hindu-Muslim marriage fails to get registered, officials fear communal riots

The couple was asked to give Rs 20,000 as bribe by the marriage registrar

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Dadri, Uttar Pradesh:

Manjeet Bhati and Salma have not been able to get their marriage registered becuase the officials say this could ignite communal tensions.

Fearing the revival of last year’s communal tensions, authorities have allegedly refused of make the marriage of a Hindu man and Muslim girl official in Dadri village of Uttar Pradesh. The town had recently gained popularity when Mohammad Ikhlaq, a 52 year old man was killed by an angry mob after being blamed for eating beef.

According to a story published in The Mall, the couple belongs to Chitehra village and have not been able to get their marriage registered even after six months. Their plea has been rejected by officials who allegedly said that doing this may trigger communal riots all over again.

Even today, a couple having an intercaste marriage is looked upon with shame in many parts of India. Adults who have consented to this without breaking any law have been threatened and brutally beaten by religious vigilantes. Manjeet Bhati, 24, and Salma 20, left Dadri village in Gautam Budh Nagar district to Allahabad on October 19 on a bike. Three days later, Salma converted to Hinduism and the couple got married at the Arya Samaj temple.

The couple has been known to visit government offices numerous times in the past five months and met senior officers, but failed to get any help. The couple said that they were asked to give Rs 20,000 by the marriage registrar who refused to register their marriage.

NP Singh, district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar promised the couple to get their marriage registered and also asked a senior officer to look into the matter. “If both of them are adults then there should not be any problem in registering their marriage. I cannot deny that they were told by a government officer that registering their marriage can ignite communal violence”.

Manoj Bhati said that he has met all senior district officers including SDM, ADM and city magistrate and did not get support. Bhati then wrote to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, seeking his help.

“ We went to the marriage registrar in Januray but he said that he will not register our marriage as I was a Hindu and my wife a Muslim and this could ignite violence in the area. I assured him that no local has a problem with our marriage and our village is quiet peaceful, but still she refused and also demanded    Rs 20,000” he said.

The incident took place closely to the one in Karnataka, wherein a Hindu woman and Muslim man solemnized their marriage despite major protests from Hindu groups and caste leaders. The couple also claimed that they also feared attacks from the bride’s relatives earlier and sought protection from the senior superintendent of Police in that area.

“My parents died while I was quite young. I was living with some relatives who wanted me to marry an elderly man”, said Sapna. “But Manjeet and I were friends for long and we decided to get married.

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  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    One more incident of religious bigotry in Dadri

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The Other Side of “Hindu Pakistan”

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province

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The-Other-Side-of-“Hindu-Pakistan”
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Sagarneel Sinha

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country. BJP didn’t let the opportunity go by launching a scathing attack on Tharoor and his party for insulting Hindus and Indian democracy, forcing the Congress party to distance itself from its own MP’s comment. Only one year is left for the next general elections and in a politically polarised environment such comments serve as masala for political battles where perception is an important factor among the electorates.

Actually, Tharoor, through his statement, is trying to convey that “India may become a
fundamentalist state just like its neighbour — Pakistan”. Tharoor is a shrewd politician and his remarks are mainly for political gains. The comments refer to our neighbour going to polls on 25 th of this month which has a long history of ignoring minorities where the state institutions serve as a tool for glorifying the religious majority bloc and ridiculing the minorities. This compelled me to ponder about the participation of the Hindus — the largest minority bloc of the country, in the upcoming polls.

There are total 37 reserved seats for minorities in Pakistan — 10 in the National Assembly
(Lower House), 4 in the Senate (Upper House) and 23 in various state legislatures — 9 in the Sindh assembly, 8 in Punjab and 3 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistani Hindus, like other minorities have the dual voting rights in principle. But the reality is they have no rights to vote for their own representatives as the seats are reserved — means the distribution of these seats are at the discretion of parties’ leadership. Practically speaking, these reserved seats are meant for political parties not for minorities. In case of general seats, it is almost impossible for a Hindu candidate to win until and unless supported by the mainstream parties of the country. The bitter truth is — the mainstream parties have always ignored the Hindus by hesitating to field them from general seats. In 2013, only one Hindu candidate — Mahesh Kumar from the Tharparkar district won from a general seat, also became the only minority candidate to make it to the National Assembly from a general seat. This time too, he is nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — a major centre-left party of Pakistan. However, there are no other Hindu candidates for a general seat from the two other significant centre-right parties — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI). Although, there is a Hindu candidate named Sanjay Berwani from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — a Karachi (capital of Sindh province) based secular centrist party of Pakistan.

Shashi_tharoor
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s remark that India would become a “Hindu Pakistan” if the BJP is
elected again in 2019, sparked off a major debate among the political circles of the country.

The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures. It means that despite the state’s hostile policies, Hindus have been able to remain stable in a highly Islamist polarised society. 90% of the Hindu population of the country lives in the Sindh province. Hindu population in Umerkot,Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts of the Sindh province stands at 49%, 46% and 33% respectively — making them the only three substantial Hindu districts of the country. The three districts have 5 National Assembly and 13 Provincial seats. However, Hindus have never well represented from these seats.

Although, the mainstream parties stay away from nominating Hindus, this time there are many independent Hindu candidates contesting from general seats — mostly from the Sindh province. Many of them belong to the Schedule caste — the Dalit community. A recent report based on Pakistan Election Commission’s data says that out of 2.5 lakh women of Tharparkar district, around 2 lakh of them are not included in the electoral list — means that they are not entitled to vote for the upcoming general elections. All over the country, there are about 1.21 crore women voters who will not be able to vote in the elections. The reason is the lack of an identity card. Most of them are poor who are unable to pay the expenses required for an identity card. This has made difficult for independent Hindu Dalit candidates like Sunita Parmar and Tulsi Balani as most of their supporters will not be voting in the upcoming polls. In Tharparkar district, around 33% percent are the Hindu Dalits — brushed aside by the mainstream parties. The reserved seat candidates are based on party nominations, where mainly the upper caste Hindus are preferred. Radha Bheel, a first time contestant and the chairperson of Dalit Suhaag Tehreek (DST), a Dalit organisation, says that the fight is for the rights of the lower socio-economic class and scheduled castes. Sunita, Tulsi, Radha and the other independent Hindu candidates know
that the possibility of winning from the general seats is bleak but for them the contest is for their own identity — an identity never recognised by the political parties and the establishment of Pakistan.