Minority Hindus demanded justice after two young Hindu males were shot by members of a Muslim mob at a tea stall in Mirpur Mathelo, in the Ghotki district of Pakistan’s Sindh province. Kumar Satish Dewan, age 17, succumbed to his injuries, while his friend Avinash (full name not disclosed) remains in critical condition.
The incident occurred shortly after Amar Lal, a Hindu male from the area who was handed over to authorities by a mob for allegedly burning pages of the Quran. His mental condition was described to local media outlets by locals as “unstable”. Police failed to stop mobs throughout the district from ransacking Hindu-owned businesses and shops, as well as destroying public property in the area. Witnesses also said the mob of angry extremists desecrated a local Hindu temple and some reports indicate that a young Hindu girl has been abducted in the town as an “honor reparation” for the Quran incident.
Ashok Kumar Jay, a Hindu and religious minorities rights activist, said the country is witnessing an appalling increase in faith-based violence. “There has been a sharp increase in violence against religious minorities including forced conversions, target killings, extortion, looting, kidnapping, and troubles linked to their places of worship.” Another witness who wanted to be anonymous told us that they tried reaching out to media with details, but no one responded to them.
This incident comes weeks after a 90 year old Hindu man was severely beaten for eating on his front door step an hour before local Muslims ended their fast during Ramadan. A human rights report also estimates that at least 25 Hindu girls are kidnapped every month and forced to convert to Islam.
“Pakistan’s regressive blasphemy laws have been used as a pretext and justification to routinely attack religious minorities, and have been sanctioned by the state and all major political parties in the country,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Senior Director and Human Rights Fellow. “These laws have not only explicitly restricted the legal rights of non-Muslims and members of minority Muslim sects, they have also empowered mobs to act as the judge, jury, and executioner,” Kalra noted.
The Hindu American Foundation has documented several cases of false blasphemy accusations and mob violence against Hindus and other religious minorities in its annual human rights report. In February 2014, a mob burned and destroyed a Hindu temple and several Hindu-owned businesses in Larkana, Sindh over a similar accusation of blasphemy. Kalra added, “The only viable solution to ending these types of barbaric killings and attacks on minorities is to repeal these laws in their entirety.”
Blasphemy against Islam is illegal in Muslim-majority Pakistan as per the nation’s Constitution, which allows the government to curb freedom of expression “in the interest of integrity of Islam.” Over 1,400 people, mostly minorities or disabled, were arrested in the nation for blasphemy in 2014, while others were killed by mobs when accused of committing the crime. In a 2014 case, a pregnant Christian couple was burned alive in a kiln in Punjab after someone in their town claimed they had burned a Quran.
A day after the incident, I did a digital analysis to validate the hypothesis of anti-Hindu bias by international human rights organizations and global Media houses. A search was done on 50 global Human Rights activists, including Kenneth Roth (Executive director at Human Rights Watch) and none of the 50 activists had covered any atrocities against the millions of Hindus that faced violence and discrimination over the last month. In comparison, dozens of their tweets highlighted human rights incidents where the victims belonged to other major religious or social communities (Christianity, LGBTQ, Athiesm, Islam).
It should be noted that Hinduism is the 3rd largest faith by population in the World, and Hindus are minorities in 99% (193) of the World’s 195 nations. There are thousands of activists that focus on the plight of minorities around the World, but even those activists are silent when Hindus are the victims. Why?
A second analysis was done using Google News search engine to identify if there was fair coverage of the incident. When searched 1.5 days after the incident, only Pakistani and Indian media had covered the story (25 local news sites), with 0 international publications mentioning the incident (including CNN, Vice, BBC, CBC, Washington Post, Toronto Star, New York Times, Independant, the Guardian, Al Jazeera, RT, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Salon, The Daily Beast, Channel 4, DW). In comparison, in the last month all the above media outlets had covered multiple stories about the plight of minorities in India and even some on the Christian minorities in Pakistan). For example, when a Muslim man was beat in India by vigilantes for eating beef (Dadri), every single media outlet mentioned above covered the incident in multiple separate articles – and when searched using Google News there were over 2,000 articles globally written about the Dadri incident. WHY? There has to be some introspection by writers and activists. Is it because 99% of the World’s media has roots in Abrahamic faiths and Hindus are seen as less valuable? Is it because dead Hindus are not ‘special’ enough to garner millions of pageviews, which drive ad revenue? Is it because Hinduphobia is such a big problem globally that is has become pointless to define it, where even the most liberal media outlets ignore Hindu victims.
For millions of minority Hindus around the World who face daily struggles, the disgusting lack of coverage and awareness in Pakistan and around the World justifies the narrative by Hinduphobes that Hindoo minorities are worth less.
By Suchin R