Foreign Policy Blogs

India should adopt Israel’s right of return policy

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with the 10th President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Gadi Eizenkot.

The Hindus of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan are being forced to flee to India but are not receiving Indian citizenship. The time has come for this to change.

Many Pakistani, Afghani and Bangladeshi Hindus living in India face a dire situation. Even though they share the same faith and culture as Hindus in India, they are not being granted Indian citizenship. Instead, they are being treated like stateless refugees. Furthermore, the Times of India recently reported that within the last three years, over 2,000 Pakistani Hindus who fled to India have been forced to return to Pakistan because they have been denied citizenship. According to the report, many of the returning Hindus have been forced to convert to Islam.

Pakistani dissident Natharam Bheel added in the Times of India: “Pakistani Hindus who are coming to India that are leaving everything in Pakistan are not getting anything here as well. They are coming here with the hope of leading a good life but eventually, they are losing all hope. Waiting period is getting longer. They are coming here on a religious visa and due to a lack of papers and documents, they are forced to go back.”

This is a great tragedy not only for the Pakistani Hindu community but also for the entire Hindu world and global civilization at large. Anyone who cares about minority rights in the greater Muslim world should be outraged. The time has come for this charade to come to an end! The Indian government should immediately adopt Israel’s right of return policy, so that oppressed Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and other parts of the world will have a refuge to flee to.

The Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in a horrible bind and are in desperate need of such a refuge. According to Shipan Kumer Basu, President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, many Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh claim that India is the country of the Hindus and that all Hindus should go there: “From a religious perspective, India is our holy land but if we go to India, we are not treated as equals. There we do not receive citizenship nor jobs so why should we leave our ancestral lands, property and relatives behind to live in India?” However, countless Hindus from Muslim countries have nevertheless gone to India because they were compelled to leave their homelands due to atrocities implemented by various Islamist individuals and groups, who are backed by the local government.

The BBC claims that Hindus in Pakistan are treated like second class citizens. According to the report, their children are forced to read the Quran in Pakistani schools and are often mocked due to their religious beliefs. In addition, the Tribune reported that a study analyzing Pakistani textbooks from grades 1-10 concluded that “Hindus are repeatedly described as extremists and eternal enemies of Islam whose culture and society is based on injustice and cruelty, while Islam delivers a message of peace and brotherhood, concepts portrayed as alien to the Hindu.” According to the Movement for Solidarity and Peace, around 1,000 Hindu and Christians girls in Pakistan are kidnapped, forcefully converted and married to Muslim men against their will every year.

Due to facing such indignities, the Hindu population in Pakistan has rapidly declined. According to the Diplomat, at the time of the partition of British India, Hindu’s constituted 15% of Pakistan’s population but today, less than 2% of the Pakistani population is Hindu. Furthermore, the report noted that every year about 5,000 Hindus leave Pakistan in order to avoid persecution. Basu reported that a similar trend is occurring among the Hindus of Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who also are systematically being ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homes.

The Hindus of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many policy makers in the West do not care about their plight because they are not white, lack the possession of numerous natural resources and do not have the backing of rich oil producing states. Furthermore, their enemies aren’t Jewish so there is no predetermined bigotry against their enemies, which can lead to an international call for them to obtain the justice that they deserved. Meanwhile, with the rise of radical Islam in the Indian subcontinent, their status in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan is getting more perilous by the day. And so long as India does not offer them refuge just as Israel does for Jews from Muslim majority countries, the Hindus from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh won’t benefit from having a national homeland for all Hindus, where they can be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Therefore, the time has come for India to stand up for its historic responsibility and to transform India into a national homeland for all Hindus.




 

Author

Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is the President of the Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi Center for Human Rights in Middle East (under formation) and is a political analyst at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research and Public Relations. In addition, she is a contributing writer at the Haym Salomon Center. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”

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