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Longing for Acceptance: Hindus call for allocation of religious site to perform rituals in Pakistan

"The government has taken Hindus for granted and never bothered to take them on board regarding formation of a policy to bring them in the main streamline"

  • Marriage laws for millions of Hindus living in Sindh have been codified after the Sindh Assembly approved the Hindu Marriage Bill in 2016
  • There has been no place allocated to them to perform their religious rites such as cremate their dead, perform religious rituals like worship, recite Geeta and play Holi
  • The Hindus of Garrison city call for allocation of a site to perform these rituals

With the population of diverse groups rising in various countries, several laws have been twisted or bent to accommodate them. Quite a number of them have been codified, to accept these communities and bring them under law. Certain religious freedom has also been guaranteed to the employers of numerous faith. Appropriate places for prayers during working hours and flexible schedule during religious occasions are a few to name. Even in Pakistan, marriage laws for millions of Hindus living in Sindh have been codified after the Sindh Assembly approved the Hindu Marriage Bill in 2016.

Hindus, with a population of 3.3 million in Pakistan have no legal mechanism to register marriages and lack any legal framework for the protection of their marriage. Under the new law, Zoroastrians and Sikhs in Sindh will also be able to register their marriages. But in the rest of the country, call for the similar legislation is falling on deaf ears, said the July 18, Pak Observer.net report.

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With over 200 Hindu families scattered in parts of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Saddar, Chaklala, Chungi Number 22, Lal Kurti, Alipur Firash, G-7, Bhara Kahu and suburbs of the Federal Capital, there has been no place allocated to them to perform their religious rites such as cremate their dead, perform religious rituals like worship, recite Geeta and play Holi. Apart from that, the Hindus of Garrison city too, have called for the allocation of a site to perform these rituals.

Street protest by Hindus in Pakistan. Image source: www.trinetra.org.uk
Street protest by Hindus in Pakistan. Image source: www.trinetra.org.uk

A survey conducted by pakobserver.net showed, Balmik Hindus are the majority in the Garrison City. The two sub-castes are divided based on whether they cremate their dead and those who bury them. But however, unlike India, they only differ in observance of certain rituals and does not characterise their ways of living. But despite these differences, the scattered population are pillars of the same ancient roof.

Jagmohan Kumar Arora and Akash Raj of the Pakistan Hindu-Sikh Welfare Council and Sudhar Young Hindu Welfare Sabha respectively said that though Hindus face no immediate threat from any particular group or individuals, they are far from mixing up in society and was being exploited in the name of religious, cultural and social differences. They are the representatives of the two organisations which are working for the rights of the Hindu community, preservation of their ways of living and their overall social, political and economic welfare.

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“The government has taken Hindus for granted and never bothered to take them on board regarding the formation of a policy to bring them in the main streamline,” said Jagmohan to pakobserver.net.

They also add that the reason why Hindus in Pakistan could not make their mark in various fields is the deep sense of alienation they are suffering from within their own country.

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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