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Lahore, Feb 28, 2017: Last spring, Anila Dhawan was abducted from her home in Hyderabad, Pakistan. She was forced to marry the abductor and convert to Islam.
The police refused to step in. Her abductor stated that Voluntarily, the girl had eloped from home, converted into Islam and married him. But post her family mounting pressure on the court, she spoke the truth to the judges and she was freed.
“Her life was threatened,” her attorney, Ramesh Gupta, stated. “She wanted to go back to her parents and the statement (she made to the court) helped to sway the decision in her favor and she was freed to join her family.”
Anila is among those Pakistani Hindu girls who are abducted due to draconian religious discrimination in a country that comprises of 98 per cent Muslim majority.
According to South Asia Partnership-Pakistan, a local human rights group, every year, it is estimated muslim men abduct about 1000 girls of Christianity and Hinduism faith but mostly Hindu girls. According to Pakistan Hindu Council, about 5000 Pakistani Hindus flee to neighbouring country India where 80 per cent population practises Hinduism. They flee to evade the religious persecution and discrimination.
Last year, the legislature in Southern province of Sindh (where the Kohlis reside) passed a legislation that outlawed the forced conversion of those below age 18, but it never came into effect. Conservative Islamic factions and groups objected to this measure and criticised the 5 years imprisonment on those who were guilty of forcing conversion. They produced the rationale that the law was ‘anti-Islamic’ and an endeavour to make Pakistan a secular country.
“We will not remain silent on this controversial law,” said Hafiz Saeed, a leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a self-proclaimed charity that the United States has declared a terrorist group.
In January the measure was vetoed by Sindh government. The legislative defeat was a major let down to human rights, activists stated.
“The problem of conversions is real,” said Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a mewmber of the Pakistan Hindu Council and parliament. “We are not against the conversion of religion as a result of research or preaching. But why are only underage Hindu girls in Sindh changing religion?”
For instance, last summer’s night, Ameri Kashi Kohli’s 14-year-old daughter was abducted from her home while she was sleeping in Southern Pakistan.
It was a harrowing experience for her when she discovered what happened to her daughter. “She had been converted to Islam and became the second wife of our landlord,” Kohli stated. Her landlord falsely claimed that the teen was compensation for a $1,000 debt the family owed him.
On top of that, the police refused to intervene. “They just said forget your daughter, she has converted,” Kohli described. They said “my daughter Jeevti is now known as Fatima.”
The defeat of the bill exhibited that religious conservatives have considerable power in the country.
“Government after government, military and civilian, have caved in to pressure from the extremists,” said Farahnaz Ispahani, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., who specialises in Pakistan’s minorities. “It is imperative for the government to stand by the people it represents. The bill to stop enforced conversion must be passed unaltered.”
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She said that the muslim leaders are critical of new protections extended to religious minorities and woman to and safeguarding them, especially women.
As per Kohli, she says she has lost her daughter. The landlord produced an affidavit from the teen and claimed that she was neither forced to convert nor marry and she ran away voluntarily. The parents claim she was forced to write this. As per Husband’s wishes, she was not allowed to meet her family or friends.
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Kohli stated that the plight of her daughter speaks volume about the uncertain future of Hindus in Pakistan.
“There (are) many Fatimas in this country,” Kohli stated. “But does this country have place for a Jeevti?”
Many stories dealing with such appalling and gruesome stature come across in Pakistan but no action is taken to prevent this social evil.
– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse
Meta-owned photo-sharing platform Instagram has started testing subscriptions, a new feature allowing creators to offer paid followers access to exclusive content. Currently, only 10 US creators have gained access to the new feature, including basketball player Sedona Prince, model Kelsey Cook, actor-influencer Alan Chikin Chow, Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and digital creator Lonnie IIV.
"Subscriptions are for creators," Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said in a video posted on Twitter. "Creators do what they do to make a living and it's important that it is predictable." Followers will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow. Subscription pricing ranges from $0.99 per month to $99.99 per month.
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. | Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
Instagram users who subscribe to a creator will have access to subscriber-only stories, live streams, and other content. Meanwhile, Instagram is also reportedly testing Stories redesign with vertical scrolling in its app. As noted by social media consultant Matt Navarra, some users located in Turkey have received an Instagram update that brings vertical scrolling to Stories.
While Stories from the same user can still be viewed by tapping the left or right side of the screen, jumping to the next user's Stories requires a swipe down. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: subscriber, feature, testing, Instagram, followers, scrolling, users, content creators, stories)
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. Many strays lose this battle trying to find food and warmth under a scrap of clothing or caged up in the corner of streets. The Perroayuda Welfare Foundation (PWF), a Delhi-based animal welfare organisation, recently held a Mega Stray Feeding Drive in Lajpat Nagar with the goal of feeding all of the area's stray animals. These wonderful Samaritans come from all around Delhi-NCR with one goal in mind: to rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need.
Many stray animals are trying to survive as the temperature in the capital continues to drop. | Af.Mil
PWF has previously staged feeding drives in Netaji Subhash Place, Connaught Place, North Campus, Delhi University, and other locations throughout the city. A group of 70 volunteers fed over 100 stray dogs in the vicinity and provided water in earthen bowls. To raise awareness about the issue of stray animals, volunteers talked with businesses, local authorities, customers, and hawkers. The actions of this group of young animal advocates were recognised and supported.
"Donations come in from all around the world." To save strays and pay for their treatment, we rely completely on donations. "Every day, our organisation feeds roughly 1000 stray dogs," says Arpit Mathur, the organisation's founder. "Throughout the day, we receive SOS calls. We can only accomplish so much with our limited staff and resources. We hope that more young people, like us, would join us in this cause." In Rohini, the NGO also maintains a recovery centre. Currently, the recovery centre accommodates roughly 40 animals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, and a few unusual birds.
To rescue, feed, and adopt all animals in need is the goal of these people. | Photo by Camilo Fierro on Unsplash
PWF seeks to discover and feed all stray animals in need, as well as provide them with food, care, affection, and medical treatment, and organise Mega Stray Feeding Drives to raise awareness and adoption. "We discover stray animals, pet them, and feed them - no one deserves to be hungry," Mathur adds. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: adopt, feed, rescue, goal, Delhi-NCR, Perroayuda Welfare Foundation, Winter, stray animals, Help, Initiative, volunteer)
Indonesian lawmakers passed a law on the relocation of the nation's capital to the island of Kalimantan, which shares borders with Malaysia and Brunei, from the most populated island of Java. The move is a step forward in one of the most ambitious projects initiated by the country's President Joko Widodo, Xinhua news agency reported. Some former presidents had floated ideas of relocating the capital city in the past. The president, widely known as Jokowi, three years ago vowed to relocate the capital city to the province of East Kalimantan due to a number of issues like high population density and land subsidence in Jakarta which is home to more than 10 million people.
Indonesian lawmakers passed a law on the relocation of the nation's capital. Aditya Joshi / Unsplash
Nusantara, which the new capital is called, will be built in two districts in East Kalimantan -- Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara. It is set to occupy about 256,000 hectares of land. The name of Nusantara, which can be translated as an archipelago in English, was chosen by President Jokowi, Minister for National Development Planning Suharso Monoarfa has said. Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is home to some 270 million people, consisting of about 17,000 islands. "The national capital has a central function and serves as a symbol of a country to show the identity of the nation and state," Minister Monoarfa explained during a meeting with lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Also Read : Hinduism in Indonesia
The ground-breaking of the construction project that is slated to cost $32 billion was initially expected to be conducted in August 2020, but the Covid pandemic has forced the government to put it on hold. Some of the projects on the construction of the new capital will be carried out by public-private partnerships, and the early stage of the relocation will begin this year and is expected to end in 2024. At this stage, the government will build a presidential palace, parliament buildings, and a housing complex in the primary zone. The move of civil servants at the early stage must be completed before August 16, 2024.
The construction project is slated to cost $32 billion.Sulthan Auliya / Unsplash
Nusantara will serve as the centre of government, while Jakarta would remain the business and economic centre of Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest economy. A day before the lawmakers passed the bill, President Jokowi stressed that that new capital is not only about physically relocating the offices of government institutions, but also "building a new smart city." It has been reported that Nusantara will be headed by an authority chief appointed by the president and its level of position is equal to a minister. Several former government officials which will likely become the chief include Jakarta's former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama and former minister for research and technology Bambang Brodjonegoro. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Indonesia, Parliament, law, relocate, capital, Nusantara, Jakarta, government, Kalimantan, President, country, people, meeting, construction, palace, buildings, housing, officials.)
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