NA term ends on a disappointing note for the Hindu community
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FAIQ CHUGTAI Friday, 15 Mar 2013 9:39 pm | Comments (0)
ISLAMABAD – Despite being successful in completing its 5 years tenure, the parliament failed to pass an important legislation aimed at addressing the woes of Scheduled Caste Hindu community, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Hindu Marriage Registration Act was presented in National Assembly on October 10, 2011 and representatives of all major political parties had pledged its earlier passage before the tenure of the current legislative assembly expired. On the contrary, it seems that the government and the political leadership forgot about the minority community.
While addressing a press conference at the National Press Club, representatives of Scheduled Caste Hindu community expressed their grief and disappointment at the failure of legislatures to understand the importance of having a marriage registration law for Scheduled Caste Hindus.
Shakuntala Devi said, “A draft on Hindu Marriage Registration Act was presented to Ministry of Minority Affairs in 2008 which was later taken up by the National Commission on Status of Women who referred to the Ministry of Human Rights in 2011. We started our struggle in 2009 with a hope that the current parliament would make a law for us”.
She added, “It has now been over four years that we have been waging a struggle for our rights. In 2011, a bill was presented in national assembly for legislation of a law to register Hindu marriage but so far there has been no reported progress. Hindu women are being constantly victimised as, in absence of a marriage law, they remain deprived of basic social, political and economic rights”.
Scheduled Caste Hindus in Pakistan have been struggling for social justice and raising voice against discrimination being meted out to them on daily basis. They have loudly been speaking of their insecurities in terms of abduction and conversion of their girls and women. Local landlords used to abduct married Schedule Caste Hindu girls, forced them to convert to Islam and marry them against their will because they knew that their husbands would not be able to produce any legal evidence of the earlier marriage.
Moreover, if Scheduled Caste Hindus wanted to travel to other cities of Pakistan, they could get a room in any of the hotels because of their inability to produce the legal marriage document.
While seeking National Identity Card, they cannot claim to be husband and wife because of the lack of documented evidence. Since the draft act was taken up by the parliament, they were very happy that it would soon become a law. But now it has become clear to them that the parliamentarians were using delaying tactics and they did not actually intend to make it a law.