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No plan yet for Hindu temples security

December 01, 2014/ 1 Comment

ABDULLAH ZAFAR

KARACHI – Minority communities specially Hindus are frequently targeted in Sindh with unidentified miscreants burning and desecrating their worship places but the provincial government despite its announcements for providing special security measures have not moved forward to safeguard the minorities in the province.
It is pertinent to mention here that on November 20 2014, a Hindu temple was attacked in Tando Muhammad Khan while such incidents had also occurred during the same year in Larkana, Mirpurkhas and parts of the province also.
In May 2014, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah approved a separate police force comprising of minority members for the safeguard of their worship places alongwith approval of CCTV cameras at each of their worship places.
The Chief Minister earmarked an amount of Rs 220 million in this regard and also directed the Home Department for providing walk-through gates at major temples in the province.
Sindh Minorities Affairs Minister Gyan Chand Esrani also promised to provide special security measures on urgent basis in the province but failed to do it despite passing of around six months.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Minorities Department official told The Nation that although the project has been approved from the Chief Minister Sindh and even there is urgency being shown from provincial government in this regard, however, the department had not yet prepared a summary asking for provision of the announced CCTV cameras and separate police force.
Talking to The Nation, Pakistan Hindu Council Leader Chela Ram and PML-N leader Ramesh Kumar criticised Sindh government for its failure to safeguard the lives and property of Hindus in the province and said that non-implementation on security measures shows lack of government interest in protecting religious minorities.
Ramesh Kumar said that he had filed a petition with Sindh High Court for security of the Hindu temples. “The high court has directed the provincial government to submit report on security around temples and installation of CCTV cameras,” he said, adding, that the Sindh government had not yet implemented its announced decision. Chela Ram said that minorities were still as vulnerable as they were one-and-a half years ago and to add to their misery, the land mafia is actively engaged in illegally occupying the religious places of the minorities.
He said that there were more 1800 Hindu temples in the province but they still lack security measures. “Most of the security measures at the temples were privately owned by the community itself,” he said, adding, that even the minority members of the Provincial Assembly had failed to raise their voices for their community rights and were busy in toeing the party line on the issue.
He applauded PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto for supporting minorities issues but said that it seemed that his instructions were not followed by the PPP leadership in Sindh.
Qaim orders reduction in transport fares
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has directed the provincial transport department to ensure trickle-down benefits of reduction in prices of petroleum products to the people.
“I want you to ensure reduction in transport fares,” he urged the transport secretary. “I am issuing a directive to the transport department to reduce fares as the federal government has further decreased the prices of POL considerably. “So the transport fares must be reduced accordingly,” Qaim Ali Shah said.
The chief minister directed the transport secretary to convene an urgent meeting of transporters to discuss new POL prices and then fix the fares afresh. “You must take transporters into confidence while revising the transport fares,” he directed the transport secretary.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that with the reduction in POL prices transport fares as well as overall prices of all commodities would come down. “The entire district government machinery would be activated to implement the decision of shifting the benefits of reduced POL prices to the masses,” he categorically said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah also announced reward money of Rs 2 million for anyone who would identify the killers of Jamiat Ulemai-Islam (JUI-Fazl) Sindh General Secretary Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro.
He also directed investigation team probing the killing to expedite the process and arrest the culprits as soon as possible.

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