Members of the Hindu community chant slogans during their sit-in on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad on Friday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Members of the Hindu community chant slogans during their sit-in on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad on Friday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: Possibly for the first time in the history of the country, members of the Hindu community entered the federal capital in a large number to hold a protest sit-in.

Led by PTI lawmaker Dr Ramesh Vankwani, who is also the patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), convoys from several parts of the country, mainly Sindh, reached Islamabad on Thursday night and entered the Red Zone.

After minor skirmish with the police, the PHC members convinced the authorities to allow them to proceed to the Indian High Commission inside the Diplomatic Enclave to register their concerns over the mysterious death of 11 members of a Hindu migrant family in the Jodhpur city of the Indian state of Rajastan on August 9.

The protest was organsied by the PHC, demanding that a probe be opened on the incident that led to the death of the 11 people. The family had migrated to India from Pakistan.

Demand India probe mysterious death of 11 Pakistani Hindus

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry visited the protest camp and expressed sympathy with the participants.

He said he had come to the protest camp to express solidarity with the Hindu community of Pakistan. He said relationship with those who had left the country did not end.

“These were the children of Pakistan, the women of Pakistan and the Indian government’s treatment is inappropriate,” the minister said, adding: “A daughter of the Hindu family said she was forced to make a statement against Pakistan. This is not fair and the ruling Indian party led by Modi should be ashamed of itself.”

Addressing the participants of the protest, Dr Vankwani said the only reason for the sit-in was to seek justice for the 11 Pakistani Hindus who were killed in Jodhpur.

“The foreign ministry has informed me that despite repeated calls, the Indian government has still not released the necessary information on the death of the family members.”

Dr Vankwani said the death of the family members was a matter of grave concern for the government and the people of Pakistan, particularly the Pakistani Hindu community.

He referred to the statement of Shrimati Mukhi, a daughter of the deceased head of the family, that the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was involved in the murder of her father, mother and other family members allegedly after the agency failed to convince them to spy on Pakistan and issue anti-Pakistan statements.

He urged India to carry out a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the matter and share its findings with Pakistan immediately.

On Friday night, accompanied by Assistant Commissioner Ghulam Murtaza Chandio, a small group of PHC members and Shrimiti Mukhi, reached the Indian High Commission inside the Diplomatic Enclave.

Since no one from the high commission came out to receive the resolution of the protesters, Dr Vankwani pasted it on the wall of the main gate of the commission.

He along with others then walked out of the Diplomatic Enclave and told the protesters that the first step in their quest to justice for the 11 deceased had been achieved.

He said the struggle would continue till justice was achieved. He reiterated his demand that the Indian government should give Pakistan’s High Commission in Delhi access to the inquiry report.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2020