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Why can’t Pakistani Hindus go to Europe or America as refugees if Syrians and Rohingyas can?

Countries like Canada and Sweden welcome refugees who are persecuted on religious or ethnic lines, but why do Pakistan Hindus fail to get this helping hand? A Jaipur based doctor who has helped hundreds of Pakistani Hindus get shelter and citizenship in India explores the reasons.

A tragic picture of a Syrian child lying lifeless at the sea shore as his family tried to escape his war-torn country had sent the entire Western world in collective guilt, because they thought they were not doing enough to help people who are persecuted in their own land. Leaders like Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau had averred that more and more refugees were welcome in his country. Many in Europe too called for higher intake of migrants and refugees in their respective countries.

Even before this incident that made news and shook conscience of the international community in September 2015, many countries and societies have been welcoming refugees from Syria to places far off as Burma, from where Rohingya Muslims have travelled thousands of kilometres to seek refuge and a new life.

But how come frequent news of persecution of Hindus in Pakistan fails to shake the conscience of the west? Why don’t they feel compelled to offer humanitarian help and asylum to Hindu families, whose young daughters are abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married off to their kidnappers?

Latest such incident is of two girls, 13-year-old Raveena and 15-year-old Reena, who were kidnapped from their home in Pakistan’s Sindh on the eve of Holi. The kidnappers then circulated a video where the girls were shown being married off to unknown men following Islamic rituals. It was claimed that these young girls had agreed to convert to Islam and marry of their own will.

Shortly after this news came in, another video went viral where two other girls from Pakistan’s Multan were pleading for help to save them from Islamic fundamentalists:

Hindus in Pakistan are one of the most persecuted communities in the world, if not the most persecuted, but except for some organisations in India, which are branded “fascist” organisations, no one seems to care for them.

While the indifference in India for Hindus of Pakistan can be explained due to general contempt for Hindu people and culture that Indian ‘liberal’ society has, which also commands and controls the activism in the country, what explains the indifference of the West towards plight of Pakistani Hindus?

Even the aforementioned events have failed to shake up the conscience of the global community, which can’t stop overcompensating for the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Similar questions had once troubled Dr. Omendra Ratnu, a Jaipur based doctor who founded Nimittekam, an organisation devoted to helping Pakistani Hindus who cross over to India and seek citizenship here.

However, Dr. Ratnu doesn’t blame it on the ‘westerners’ or the foreigners alone for this attitude.

“Global Hindu leadership has failed us Hindus,” Dr. Ratnu says. “We can’t keep blaming others if our leadership doesn’t make an extra effort for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan.”

But Dr. Ratnu is quick to add that he is not blaming the political leadership.

“Narendra Modi government has been the best thing to have happened to us, so far as the issue of Pakistani Hindus is concerned,” he says, “God bless this person and I pray that he (Modi) comes back. Because with an unfavourable government at Delhi and a global Hindu leadership that is not trying enough, I dread that in 10 years, there will be no Hindu left in Pakistan.”

Dr. Ratnu informs that thousands of Pakistani Hindus have been granted Indian citizenship since Prime Minister Modi came to power. His organisation Nimittekam alone has helped over 200 Pakistani Hindus to get citizenship.

The Jaipur based doctor got interested in the issue of Pakistani Hindus after some refugees started visiting his clinic and shared their stories. He was moved by the plight, especially of young girls, and decided to actively help them. One special case he remembers was the case of Rinkle Kumari, a Pakistani Hindu girl, similarly abducted and converted, in 2012. Unfortunately she couldn’t be saved and was married off to her kidnapper.

Dr. Ratnu informs that Rinkle’s family had moved to India after they lost their case in Supreme Court of Pakistan. Rinkle’s mama (maternal uncle) was devastated and he desired to leave the sub-continent and go to US, as no Hindu leader here could help them.

Shaken, Dr. Ratnu decided to do whatever he could to help Pakistani Hindus, and he decided to form an organisation. Nimittekam is run entirely via voluntary donations and it even employs some Pakistani Hindu refugees. He says that he waited for Narendra Modi took over the reins of Delhi in 2014 so that his organisation gets a favourable environment to operate in.

“Modi government took a very important decision that perhaps not many know, when it gave rights to the District Collector of Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur to grant Indian citizenship to Pakistan Hindus. This saved a lot of time and trouble one had to earlier undergo due to bureaucracy in Delhi. For this single step itself, I want Modi to come back,” Dr. Ratnu says.

The Nimittekam founder further pointed out how External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted about plight of Pakistani Hindus after the news of two minor Hindu girls abducted and converted went viral on social media. India has officially sought a response from Pakistan.

“This is why I said I don’t blame the political leadership. Modi government is doing fine job on this and I’m sure they will do only better,” Dr. Ratnu explained, “Sushmaji’s tweet and India’s note to Pakistan is a very important development as it puts the plight of ordinary Pakistani Hindus on international map, something that our global Hindu leadership couldn’t do.”

Omendra Ratnu at World Hindu Congress in USA, 2018
Dr Omendra Ratnu has been trying to raise the issue of Pakistani Hindus on as many platforms as he can

Back in 2017, Dr. Omendra Ratnu had managed to get an appointment with some US State Department officers in order to understand this indifference of global community towards plight of Pakistani Hindus.

“I was shocked and shattered to know that no one had gone pleading the case of Pakistani Hindus earlier” Dr. Ratnu recalls his encounter with the US State Department officers.

“They (US State Department officers) were unaware about the inhuman atrocities that Hindus are put through in Pakistan. They were surprised to know when I told them how a silent genocide was happening in Pakistan and about frequent abductions of young Hindu girls. We need to make the international community aware of what the demons in Pakistan are up to,” he says.

Dr. Ratnu thanks Hindu American Foundation for helping him have this meeting with the US State Department, and wishes that such meetings should happen on an institutional level with a focused agenda of helping Pakistani Hindus get similar benefits and rights as persecuted people from Syria, Afghanistan, or elsewhere get in western nations.

“What is happening to Hindus in Pakistan is unprecedented. As per estimates around three abductions and forced conversions happen every day, and in many cases, authorities don’t even register FIRs as the perpetrators claim that Hindu girls are accepting Islam of their own choice.”

“Can anyone explain how come only young Hindu girls in 10 to 16 years of age group get fascinated by Islam and not boys? There is demonic thought of capturing the womenfolk and using them to further increase their own population. It’s a pity that the world is not talking about it. It is as bad as what ISIS did to Yezidis.”

Apart from failure of Hindu leadership and Indian ‘liberal’ obsession of equating anything pro-Hindu with Hindutva, which makes sure that the plight of Pakistani Hindus are not talked about much as people feel ashamed ‘communal’ and to raise this issue, Dr. Omendra Ratnu cites a well thought of strategy adopted by Pakistani fundamentalists to further make sure their planned genocide against Hindus is not noticed. He calls it RULLS (Random Unceasing Low Level Scattered) violence.

“Because it’s random and scattered, people think there is no organised violence, and because it’s low-level, it generally escapes attention. We have to create awareness so that the atrocities are spotted,” he says.

To spread awareness on international level, Dr. Ratnu says that those Pakistani Hindus, who have now been granted Indian citizenship, should be taken around in the world and their stories should be told. Human rights organisations, international organisations etc. should be made to talk to them and listen to what horrors they were subjected to in Pakistan.

“Despite their minuscule population, Hindus contribute significantly to Pakistan’s taxes. If we create international awareness and put pressure on Pakistan, they can act against those kingpins like Miyan Mitthu who oversee such forced kidnappings and conversions of young Hindu girls,” Dr. Ratnu suggests a step to make sure the international community wakes up to the tragedy ongoing in Pakistan.

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