WELL DONE! DO INVOLVE ABDUL KALAM AND SONIA KHAN, TOO. THEY ARE THE REAL CATS TO BE "BELLED". NOTHING HAPPENS WITHOUT THEIR TACIT SUPPORT AND NOD.
Symposium on ’Religious cleansing for centuries in the south Asian subcontinent’
The Agni Foundation organizes on Saturday 7 February 2004 the lecture ’Religious cleansing for centuries in the south Asian subcontinent’. Agni organizes annually an informative symposium. Previous year it covered human rights in a more general sense, but in February 2004 Agni will focus mainly on religious cleansing in the south Asian subcontinent. In these modern and progressive times, freedom of religion and tolerance are unfortunately not self-evident everywhere on the globe.
Expert speakers will deal with the status quo of the rights of Hindu minorities especially in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan, far underexposed in western media, from various perspectives. Also religious cleansing in Kashmir is a part of the programme.
Bangladesh is one of the most violent countries in the world in the case of human rights violations. Although human rights of minorities and freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution, the authorities fail to protect the rights of religious minorities. Political and religious murder, grabbing of land, gang rapes, state sponsored discrimination, and destruction of images and temples are daily scenes. Bhutan, country of deportation, has ethnic purification institutionalised and has since 1990 a sixth of the total domestic population, mainly the ethnic minority Lhotshampa, involuntarily and forceful deported to Nepal. Until recently the human rights situation in Afghanistan was plainly disastrous. Terror became more directed against specific groups like religious minorities. Strict clothing prescriptions, threats and the strictly Islamic constitution made the life for these groups unbearable. After the departure of the Taliban, religious minorities still face many risks and they still are excluded from active participation in negotiations over the building up of the country. The National Assembly of Pakistan passed a law formally abolishing bonded labour and prohibiting the practice, but debt bondage remains both widespread and virtually unchallenged by the Government of Pakistan. Almost without exception those in debt bondage are Hindus, working for landlords who are Muslim. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), one of the country's most prominent non-governmental organizations, has secured the release of between 7,000 and 8,000 bonded labourers in Sindh over the past five years, by persuading police or local government officials to inspect sites where bonded labourers are reported to be held, and ordering them to be released when they are found.
The federal state Kashmir is tormented through “cross border terrorism”. In the past ten years over 200.000 Kahmiri Pandits feared for their life, have escaped from Kashmir and live now elsewhere in Indian refugee centres as “refugees in own country”.
The symposium is illustrated with authentic and on the spot taken film and photograph material. Especially for this symposium, Pandit Ashok Pathak, revered by the Indian authorities, has developed a religious cleansing portraying raga with his sitar.
The symposium starts at 18.00 hours till 23.00 hours in the Museon, The Hague.