LONDON: A silent vigil was held in various places across the UK on Saturday, including Warrington, with an appeal to ‘stop violence against Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan’.
Warrington’s event was held in front of the Golden Gates on Saturday, October 2, which was international non-violence day. The aim was to ‘raise concerns about human rights violations against Hindus in Pakistan’.
Reports claim Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan face ‘regular violence’, ‘kidnapping, ‘forceful religious conversion,’ ‘attacks on businesses and religious places’ and ‘persecution’.
It is allegedly reported each year that more than 1,000 Hindu girls are abducted, forced to convert, married to people twice or thrice their age, or pushed into the sex trade – never to see their family again.
On 2 October, the international non-violence day, Insight UK organised a nationwide vigil across 40 places in the UK with an appeal to stop violence against Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan.
Insight UK, dubbed a social movement of and Indian communities to register a protest against the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
The vigils were organised on October 2 evening to coincide with Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi marked as International Non-Violence Day the world over.
Some of the locations included Edinburgh, Leeds, York, Manchester, Warrington, Bolton, Liverpool, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, London, Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Rugby, Sheffield, West Bromwich, Bristol, Swindon, Salisbury, Cheltenham, Swansea, Reading, Slough, Basingstoke and Cardiff.
Indian journalist Aditi Khanna writes for the PTI news agency that an Indian diaspora group organised a series of coordinated silent vigils across 40 locations in the UK to register a protest against the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
Insight UK said the vigil was organised on Saturday evening to coincide with Gandhi Jayanti, celebrated as International Non-Violence Day.
“British Hindus across the United Kingdom gathered to highlight the helpless condition of minorities in Pakistan, particularly the minor girls in Pakistan,” Insight UK said.
“After the vigil, the community members petitioned their local MPs to take up this humanitarian issue with the Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth [Lord Tariq Ahmad] and ask for: the UK government to raise these concerns with the Pakistan government to protect the minorities and safeguard their human rights; and take up this matter with the Indian government to ensure that the citizenship application of the minorities from Pakistan who have taken refuge in India should be expedited,” it said.
Insight UK, which describes itself as a social movement of British Hindu and Indian communities, has put together a report that notes that over 1,000 young Pakistani girls of minority religions are forcibly converted to Islam every year.
“The latest US State Department report on International Religious Freedom 2020 depicts a very precarious situation for minorities in Pakistan. At the time of independence in 1947, Pakistan had a minority population of about 31 per cent; of these 24 per cent or 7.5 million of the minority population were Hindus. In 75 years, the minority population has dwindled to 4 per cent; of which Hindus form merely 1.6 per cent or 2.5 million,” it claims.
“Insight UK is committed to spreading awareness of the atrocities and brutality that young girls in Pakistan face daily,” the group adds.