Tag Archives: Community

Kidnapping Of Hindu Girls On The Rise In Pakistan

KARACHI – Lata Kumar, a medical student on her way to college, was kidnapped earlier this week by unidentified persons from a busy Karachi street in the upmarket Defence Housing Area. In February in a similar incident, Rinkle Kumari was abducted in Mirpur Mathelo, a small town in rural Sindh. Both women, Hindus by faith, are feared to have been converted to Islam and married off.

The rise in the number of reports of Hindu girls being kidnapped or made to convert to Islam has sparked concern from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

At the launch of its report on minorities in Pakistan titled ‘Perils of Faith’ earlier this month,the HRCP’s Amarnath Motumal said minor girls and married women are kidnapped and then converted to Islam.

“They kidnap girls who are younger than 15 but they say they are adults and that the girls have accepted Islam and been married of their own free will,” he said. He also pointed out that no one is supporting the Hindu community on the issue. “We are Pakistanis first, and then Hindu. We earn enough and have food to eat but this conversion issue is not acceptable, it has discouraged Hindus in Pakistan.”

HRCP chief Zohra Yusuf noted that the “situation of religious minorities in Pakistan has grown worse over the last year. The government has not taken steps which could improve the status of minorities.”

“Minorities are not considered equal citizens in Pakistan. Some incidents that happened in 2011 have increased their vulnerability”, she said, citing the assassinations of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and former federal minister for minorities affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti.

In front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, members of the minority communities, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs protested. “Give us our Rinkle back. Give us the daughter of Sindh back,” demanded the relatives of the 17-year-old girl.

Courtesy: http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=14962

Demand for her freedom and charging of the kidnappers – Overseas Sindhis Condemn the Kidnapping of Ms. Rinkal Kumari

London, UK and Garden Grove, CA: Overseas Sindhis including USA-based Sindhi Association of North America and UK/USA based World Sindhi Congress (WSC) condemn the kidnapping and as that is what she said in open court; forced conversion to Islam of a Hindu teenage girl, Rinkal Kumari. Ms. Kumari kidnapped from Mirpur Mathelo and held in custody of local PPP MNA. When the local community protested, Ms. Kumari was brought to a court but members of the Hindu community were not permitted to enter the public court session. She stated to the court that she wants to go home. But the judge forced her to remain in the custody of her kidnappers.

Continue reading Demand for her freedom and charging of the kidnappers – Overseas Sindhis Condemn the Kidnapping of Ms. Rinkal Kumari

Balochistan: Silence of the courts

By Yunas Samad

Balochistan has been burning in the background for sometime, but what made Congress — to the embarrassment of the State Department and the Government of Pakistan — take up this issue now? Some say this was just a stunt but there is a growing frustration in Washington that Pakistan is double-dealing with the US; taking substantial aid dollars and then pursuing a strategy in Afghanistan which is costing lives of US soldiers. American troops have now been in Afghanistan longer than the Vietnam War, and there is considerable unhappiness with Pakistan for the grief it has caused them and an increasing desire, in some quarters, to hit back.

What is interesting is that for the first time, the international community is now reflecting on the possibility of an independent Balochistan, is being sold to them as a package, which would break-up Iran and Pakistan and give over Gwadar as a facility for the US fleet. Let’s be clear that this is a minority view; it is more of an attempt to embarrass Pakistan, but such developments can generate their own momentum and with time become a reality. Who would have thought that South Sudan or East Timor would become independent states? But those who live by the sword die by the sword and, this could easily be applied to countries.

Pakistan of all countries should be familiar with this theme after resorting to military force to deny the Bangladeshi people their democratic rights. Military solutions to political problems results in disaster and invite foreign intervention and we are repeating these mistakes again in Balochistan. Failure to resolve the human rights situation is creating opportunities for foreign intervention. From the extrajudicial execution of Akbar Bugti to the deaths of activists (1,100 according to Human Rights Watch and 10,000 according to Baloch activists) and their torture and disappearances are — in eyes of those critical of Pakistan, evidence of — crimes against humanity. Pakistani generals were fortunate that they weren’t dragged into an international court and prosecuted for war crimes after the Bangladesh civil war, mainly because such bodies could not function during the Cold War. However, in the unipolar world of today, we have seen Ratko Mladic of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, President of Liberia, Charles Taylor and Nuon Chea, of the Khmer Rouge all end up in court to get their comeuppance.

Our political leaders are in a huddle, trying to figure out how to respond to the crisis in Balochistan; idle resolutions condemning foreign interference are being passed but our judiciary remains inactive and silent on this issue. It is tragic that our activist judges have not seen the abuse of fundamental rights in Balochistan to be given priority, particularly since the Baloch disappearance case was an important reason for the clash between former General Pervez Musharraf and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Why cases about presidential corruption are considered more important than cases of extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances beats me? It only resonates with the Baloch nationalist argument that they are not treated like Pakistani citizens and hence, want independence, even if it means becoming a satellite of the US. The best possible response to the Congressional hearing is for the judiciary to demonstrate that it actively safeguards the fundamental rights of all the citizens of Pakistan.

The judiciary needs to investigate the killing of Akbar Bugti and if necessary charge Musharraf, reopen the case on disappearances and threaten contempt charges against the agencies for ignoring their orders. The Supreme Court cannot sit idle and ignore these issues by risking greater foreign interference in the matter. It needs to demonstrate to the Baloch people and the world that they are, in fact, citizens of Pakistan and their rights are protected.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.

PAKISTAN – Supreme court directs Sindh IG to recover Hindu girls by 26th

SC directs Sindh IG to recover Hindu girls by 26th

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Sindh inspector general of police to take all necessary steps for the recovery of Hindu females and produce them before the court on March 26.

A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez was hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Hindu Council, making the federation through the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry respondents. Appearing on notice, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq requested the court to grant him some time to seek instructions from the quarters concerned in the matter. The court then directed him to file reply until the next hearing.

The court was informed by Pakistan Hindu Council Patron-in-Chief Dr Ramesh Kumar that during the past few days, three females of the Hindu community including Rinkle daughter of Nandlal (Mirpur Mathello) and Dr Lata daughter of Dr Ramesh (Jaccobabad) were kidnapped from CPSP Karachi, whereas another Poja Devi (Larkano) had also been abducted forcibly. He said the entire Hindu community felt insecure and therefore had lodged a protest in Karachi. He requested the court to issue necessary directions to the provincial administration for the recovery of the girls by the next date of hearing.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

BBC – Pakistan Hindu woman Rinkle Kumari ‘forced to marry’

By Riaz Sohail

A court in Pakistan has ordered police to find a Hindu woman who was allegedly abducted and forced to marry her Muslim husband.

In a petition before the Sindh High Court, the family of Rinkle Kumari say that her abduction was supported by a powerful politician.

But her husband’s friends say that she voluntarily left home in Sindh province and willingly converted to Islam.

Judges at the court said that Ms Kumari must be produced before them next week.

Human rights activists say that other reported abductions of members of minority communities in Pakistan, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, have not been properly investigated by the authorities.

In the most recent case, Hindu community leaders say that an oath Ms Kumari made in front of a court in her home town that she had freely got married and converted to Islam was made under duress.

They say that many others like her have been forcibly taken away by powerful politicians – some allied to the governing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The Hindu community has accused one of the party’s MPs, Mian Abdul Haq, of supporting the abduction and the forced conversion.

But in an interview with the BBC he strenuously denied the allegations.

“I contacted her family when Rinkle came to me last month,” he said.

“But they refused to respond – and then I was left with no choice but to convert her to Islam and get her married [according to] her will.”

Ms Kumari’s family say that she was kidnapped from her home on 24 February by Naveed Shah – who later married her.

They say that they have registered a police complaint against Mr Shah even though he appeared in court on 25 February with Ms Kumari, who made a statement before the magistrate that she had married him of her own free will.

The family and community leaders, however, say that the magistrate was under “a great deal of pressure” because hundreds of armed tribesmen loyal to Mr Haq were in the court premises.

Mr Haq said that his supporters would abide by the court ruling and that Ms Kumari would appear in court on 12 March.

Courtesy: BBC

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More » Where shall we go?

Pakistani Hindus seek safety in India

KARACHI: Preetam Das is a good doctor with a hospital job and a thriving private clinic, yet all he thinks about is leaving Pakistan, terrified about a rise in killings and kidnappings targeting Hindus.

A successful professional, he lives in mega city Karachi with his wife and two children, but comes from Kashmore, a district in the north of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh.

His family has lived there for centuries and in 1947 when the sub-continent split between India, a majority Hindu state, and Pakistan, a homeland for Muslims, Das’ grandparents chose to stay with the Muslims.

They fervently believed the promise of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah that religious minorities would be protected. Sixty years later, their grandson says life in Kashmore has become unbearable. “The situation is getting worse every day,” he says.

Two of his uncles have been kidnapped and affluent Hindus are at particular risk from abduction gangs looking for ransom, he says.

Rights activists say the climate is indicative of progressive Islamisation over the last 30 years that has fuelled an increasing lack of tolerance to religious minorities, too often considered second class citizens.

Das says the only thing keeping him in Pakistan is his mother. “She has flatly refused to migrate, which hinders my plans. I can’t go without her,” he said.

Hindus make up 2.5 per cent of the 174 million people living in the nuclear-armed Muslim nation. Over 90 per cent live in Sindh, where they are generally wealthy and enterprising, making them easy prey for criminal gangs.

An official at the ministry of external affairs in New Delhi who declined to be named said: “Every month about eight to 10 Hindu families migrate from Pakistan. Most of them are well-off.”

He had no comment on whether the number was on the rise, but Hindu community groups in Pakistan say more people are leaving because of kidnappings, killings and even forced conversions of girls to Islam.

“Two of my brothers have migrated to India and an uncle to the UAE,” said Jay Ram, a farmer in Sindh’s northern district of Ghotki.

“It’s becoming too difficult to live here. Sindhis are the most tolerant community in the country vis-a-vis religious harmony, but deteriorating law and order is forcing them to move unwillingly,” he added.

Continue reading Pakistani Hindus seek safety in India

Chief Justice urged to help recover ‘kidnapped’ Hindu girl – DAWN

By Bhagwandas

KARACHI, March 4: An alliance of minority parties on Sunday appealed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take a suo motu notice of the kidnapping of a Hindu girl and order her immediate return to her parents to restore the waning sense of security in the minorities.

Speaking at a protest demonstration staged outside the Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Minority Leaders Alliance representatives said they would launch a protest movement and stage a sit-in on March 10 if the authorities failed to recover the girl, Rinkle Kumari.

According to an uncle of the girl, Raj Kumar, she was kidnapped from her house in Mirpur Mathelo over a week ago and forced to marry Naveed Shah and change her religion. He alleged that the case was heard by a civil judge in Ghotki, but he did not allow her relatives to enter the courtroom while giving a verdict in favour of the ‘kidnapper’, Mr Shah.

Speaking on the occasion, Jeay Sindh Mahaz chief Riaz Chandio expressed solidarity with the minority community members and demanded arrest of and punishment to culprits involved in her kidnapping.

He said those belonging to religious minority groups, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, were sons of the soil. They should not feel threatened by such acts, as all Sindhis were one and that they were equal citizens and had equal rights, he said.

He said it was unfortunate that the girl was given in police custody instead of being sent to Darul Aman.

Mr Chandio announced that if “the daughter of Sindh” was not rescued and returned and culprits were not arrested soon and punished according to law, a province-wide sit-it would be staged on Saturday.

Manohar Lal, Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker in the national assembly, condemned the kidnapping and forced conversion of a young girl. He urged the president to take notice of the incident.

He said Islam guaranteed protection to minorities, but such people were giving a bad name to the religion. With such incidents, a sense of insecurity was growing in the community, he said. Earlier their sons were kidnapped for ransom, but now their daughters were being kidnapped and forcibly converted, he remarked.

Jeay Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party leader Gulzar Soomro said that forced conversions were a conspiracy against Islam, which preaches love and peace and opposes use of force. He said the culprits were agents of the establishment that wanted to divide the Sindhis.

“Our patience should not be mistaken as our weakness,” he warned, seeking her immediate recovery.

A Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader and former lawmaker, Michael Javed, said the Quaid-i-Azam had said that the minorities would be equal citizens in Pakistan, but over the years the Quaid’s message was being forgotten.

Amar Lal, a community leader, said he and the girl’s uncle had met US consulate general staff a few days back and political counsellor Junaid J. Muneer had assured him that the issue would be taken up with the authorities concerned. He said he had also received a call from a former political counsellor of the US embassy in Islamabad, L.K. Robinson, who was currently in Washington. He told him that he would take up the issue with human rights organisations there.

Mahesh Singh, Mangla Sharma, Ramesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar and others also spoke.

Raj Kumar, the girl’s uncle, earlier informed the gathering that on Feb 24, a few armed men barged into her home in Mirpur Mathelo and kidnapped her at gunpoint.

He said a case was filed in a Ghotki court where he said she gave a statement about the threats she had received to convert and marry Naveed Shah or she and her entire family would be killed. He quoted her as saying in the court that she wanted to return and live with her parents.

He also alleged that the judge, in the presence of gunmen in the court, sent her to police custody rather than to her parents’ home or to a shelter home. The next hearing was scheduled to be held at 11am on Feb 27, but the case was heard at 8.15am and the girl’s family was not allowed to enter the courtroom, he said, adding that the judge then gave a verdict in favour of Mr Shah.

Mr Kumar urged the chief justice to take a suo motu notice of the issue and order her safe return to her parents.

Earlier, the participants in the demonstration chanted slogans such as ‘we want justice’ and ‘Rinkle be rescued’.

Courtesy: DAWN

Another distressing news: Injustices against Hindus, other minorities & women all over Pakistan.

Twenty-three Hindus kidnapped from Balochistan: official

QUETTA: The incidents of kidnapping for ransom and other heinous crimes in Balochistan have been increased as the government official revealed that 23 members of the Hindu community were kidnapped from the province over a period of several months.

The rise in kidnapping had forced the Hindu community to migrate from Balochistan to other parts of the country. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Via – adopted from facebook

The forces of darkness will not give up easily but neither will we.

Bilawal Vows to Defend Minorities on Bhatti Anniversary

Karachi: The Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the party will continue to stand by Pakistan’s religious minorities and support them against bigotry in the tradition of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

In a statement marking the first anniversary of the assassination of PPP leader Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of the Christian community, the PPP Chairperson paid tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti’s dedication to Pakistani democracy and the ideal of a more tolerant and inclusive Pakistan. …

Read more » Pak Tea House

http://networkedblogs.com/uFt3H

U.S. resolution for independent Balochistan

A US resolution for independent Balochistan

Baloch are divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan: Rohrabacher

They had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country, says resolution

A US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has introduced in his country’s Congress a resolution seeking the right of self-determination for Baloch in Pakistan.

The resolution called as the House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives and co-sponsored by Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King calls for sovereign country for the people of Balochistan.

A week ago, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had also chaired a Congressional committee’s hearing on Balochistan. His move is likely to affect Pakistan’s relations with the US. Both the countries are already sharing difficult relationship after the NATO attack on Pakistani post. Pakistan in reaction had suspended NATO supplies to Afghanistan.

The resolution says hat revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while Baluchistan remains the poorest province in Pakistan.

The resolution further adds there is also an insurgency in Sistan-Balochistan, which is being repressed by Iran. The people of Balochistan, it said were divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan and they had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in peace and harmony, without external coercion.

Media reports said Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations also issued a statement from his office which said, “The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination. The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad.”

The press release further added that Balochistan is “rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Baluchistan the country’s poorest province.”

WASHINGTON: TP MD, Feb 17, 2012

Courtesy » The Point – Voice of Sindh & Balochistan

http://www.thepoint.com.pk/world97.php

Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Message of Support sent by US Senator Kay Baily Hutchison

District Attorney Patrica Lykos was the Chief Guest

HOUSTON, TX, USA.  Sindhi-Americans gathered in Houston on Saturday, January 28, 2012 to commemorate the 108th birthday of Mr. G. M. Syed, a national leader of Sindh who waged a nonviolent struggle against religious fundamentalism and for freedom.

Sindh is home to the ancient Indus Valley civilization and is now a province in Pakistan. A vibrant Sindhi-American community numbering in the tens of thousands lives in various U.S. cities. More than 30 million Sindhis live in Sindh today. Sindhis are supportive of democracy and secularism and have been marginalized by  security establishment and its fundo ideology.

Ms. Patricia Lykos, District Attorney of the Harris County of Texas, was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker of the evening. Other prominent speakers include Mr Albert Chang, Director of Regional Office of the US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Mr. Iqbal Detho, a human rights scholar affiliated with the University of Minnesota, Mr. Mohammed Khan Buriro, a human rights lawyer from Sindh, Mr Umed Ali Laghari, Sr. Vice Chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress, and Mansoor Samo of the G M Syed Memorial Committee and Several community leaders spoke at the event. An estimated 250 delegates from different parts of Texas, USA came to attend this event.

Continue reading Sindhi-Americans Gathered in Houston to Pay Tribute to Their National Leader

Jewish-Taliban fundamentalists

Unorthodox:” A Woman’s Journey from Repression to Freedom

By Sarah B. Weir

Growing up, Deborah Feldman had to wear skirts that covered her ankles and high-necked blouses made of woven fabric so they wouldn’t cling to her body. She wasn’t allowed to read books in English because her grandfather, with whom she lived, said they were written in an “impure language.” When she was twelve, she suffered a sexual assault, which she kept hidden because she had been taught that men’s lust was ungovernable. This was supposedly the reason her world was segregated by gender.

Related: Top Jewish Rabbi: Segregated Buses Not Jewish Law

At 17, Feldman’s grandparents pushed her into an arranged marriage with a virtual stranger, but she had never even heard the word “sex” spoken or learned about the very basics of human reproduction. Once married, she was expected to shave her head and wear a wig—something she rebelled against after a year because she found it so depressing. Seven years later, despite the fact she knew she would be hated as a pariah, she abandoned her community and started life over.

You might be surprised that Feldman didn’t grow up in a far away country with repressive laws against women, but in an ultra-conservative Jewish enclave in New York City. “They’ve passed more laws from out of nowhere, limiting women—there’s a rule that women can’t be on the street after a certain hour,” Feldman told the New York Post describing the Hasidic Satmar community in which she was raised. “We all hear these stories about Muslim extremists; how is this any better? This is just another example of extreme fundamentalism.”

Continue reading Jewish-Taliban fundamentalists

Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) Condemns the Target-Killing of Brahmdagh Bugti’s Sister, Niece

Toronto, 02/02/2012 – Baloch Human Rights Council [BHRC] (Canada) strongly condemned the cold-blooded killings of a prominent Balochistan independence leader, Brahmdagh Bugti’s sister and niece and claimed it a political murder aimed at the hardcore movement for rights and freedom. President, BHRC (Canada) Zaffar Baloch, Vice President & Coordinator IVBMP Aziz Baloch, Secretary General Sher Abidian, and Secretary Information Imtiaz Baloch in a joint statement maintained that this tragic incident was a state-sponsored assassination, planned and executed by the operatives of the Pakistani military intelligence services.

Furthermore, BHRC (Canada) leadership expressed its deepest sorrow over the loss of family members of Brahmdagh Bugti, Mir Bakhtiar Domki, and Mehran Baluch and stated that the Baloch community in Canada shares the moments of grief with them, the Baloch Diaspora, and people of Balochistan. BHRC statement also extended condolences to the family members and relatives of the Baloch driver who lost his life in the incident.

Courtesy: BHRC

Pakistan should protect Ahmaddiya community against threats of violence

Pakistani authorities must do more to protect the Ahmaddiya community, Amnesty International said today amid threats from religious groups to block Ahmadis from entering their place of worship in Rawalpindi on Friday.

An Ahmadi spokesperson yesterday said local religious groups have warned they will not allow Ahmadis to carry out religious activities this Friday, local media reported. ….

Read more » Amnesty International

Stop the ongoing anti-Ahmadi hate campaign in Rawalpindi

A hate campaign against the Ahmadiyya community in Rawalpindi has been brewing for the last many months. A massive protest rally against the community has been planned by extremist elements for Sunday, January 29th, 2012 in Satellite Town area of Rawalpindi city.

Through this petition, we urge the Federal Government and the Government of Punjab to immediately take notice of, intervene and put an end to this ongoing hate campaign against its fellow citizens.

The least the government can do is protect its citizens. We urge the government to provide adequate security to the vulnerable Ahmadis under attack on Sunday.

News: http://alufaq.com/pakistan-hate-campaign-ahmadis-satellite-town-rawalpindi

Read more » http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-ongoing-anti-ahmadi-hate-campaign-in-rawalpindi

Ethnic cleansing of Christians in Pakistan

Christian children have become the victims of recent violence

The shocking protest of a Catholic Member of Parliament in Pakistan: “In Karachi children are being raped and tortured to eliminate the presence of Christians. Dozens of people have been reported as a result of the blasphemy law

By Vatican Insider staff

Rome –

Children raped and tortured, families extorted, abuse and violence taking place at the expense of terrified victims who remain silent: this is the reality of what is happening to the Christian community in some suburban quarters of Karachi, Southern Pakistan’s biggest city and the capital of the Sindh province.

Speaking to Catholic news agency Fides, Michael Shind, a Catholic MP working in Pakistan’s Sindh province, gave a shocking statement condemning the situation for Christians in the Country. Javed, whose statement was also reported by Vatican Radio, warned that for months now, Christians in the areas of EssaNagri, Ayub Goth and Bhittaiabad, have suffered indescribable violence perpetrated by members of political movements, such as the Pashtuns, which are characterised by a strong ethnic and Islamic identity. Christian families are going through living hell but “people are not reporting the abuse for fear of retaliation.”

Just last month, Javed told Fides, “We recorded 15 cases of rape.” In EssaNagri there are real “torture cells” where Christian children are imprisoned and tortured. “Captors ask for ransoms of up to 100.000 rupees and if families cannot pay, the little ones are tortured until they are beyond recognition.” The result of the violence that has been going on over the past six months is that numerous families have decided to leave Karachi. “These acts of violence are aimed at eliminating Christian presence in the area; it constitutes a kind of ethnic cleansing: we are seen as slaves who are unworthy of setting foot on Pakistani soil.”

In another case reported, a so-called “house of tolerance” was opened near a Catholic Church in Ayub Goth where “Christian girls from destitute families are forced into prostitution.” Although the authorities have been made aware of this, they have not taken any action yet. Javed is launching an appeal to ask “for an end to the oppression of our community.”

What is more, the controversial blasphemy law continues to provoke disputes and attract criticism in Pakistan and internationally, while the situation for religious minorities is very serious. They are suffering as a result of the rising extremism of Islamic fundamentalist groups. As reported by Fides, the numbers of people against whom charges have been pressed for allegedly committing blasphemy are shocking. In 2011, the blasphemy law (articles 295b and 295c of the Penal Code) led to at least 161 people being incriminated and 9 killed in extrajudicial executions after they were accused of blasphemy. These accusations “are false in 95% of cases,” says one Muslim lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

According to a Report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a human rights watch NGO operative in Asia, “Pakistan failed to guarantee respect for the human rights of its people.” The Commission documented the killings of 18 human rights defenders and 16 journalists in 2011. They had been involved in a process of denouncing evil in society, corruption and Islamic extremism.

Corutesy: Vatican Insider

Pluralism on trial in Pakistan

Haqqani vision of a tolerant nation integrated into the world community aligns with Pakistani and US interests

By Farahnaz Ispahani

As US-Pakistani relations plunge to new depths, Americans need to look beyond media reports on tactical issues such as aid and counterterrorism. The direction Pakistan takes will be of great strategic significance to the world.

The manner in which my husband, former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, is being treated in our homeland reflects the shrinking political space ….

Read more » gulfnews.com

Shocking: Unconscious girl brutally beaten by Egypt military

The blog-o-sphere is boiling at the cruel beating of a female protester by Egyptian military police, who continued battling protesters in Tahrir Square on Sunday. The clashes, into their third day now, have left 10 people dead and hundreds injured. ­The video uploaded on YouTube Sunday reveals the extreme cruelty of the country’s law enforcers during the crackdown. The army soldiers in full riot gear have been savagely beating a seemingly unconscious female protester with big sticks, kicking her and stomping on her chest. Security forces lashed out ruthlessly on armless civilians and burned down tents that had been put up by activists outside the parliament building to camp in protest against the military rule. The internet community therefore questions the methods of the military regime who took over power after the ousting of the ex-President Hosni Mubarak in February.

» YouTube

 

News – Afghanistan: National Front Asks UN to Investigate Kabul Attack

The National Front Party on Thursday asked the UN to investigate the Kabul suicide attack which took place on Tuesday at Abul Fazl Shrine.

The National Front Leader Ahmad Zia Massoud said he welcomed and supported the decision made by Afghan government. He also stressed that investigation about the incident would be in the interest of Afghanistan.

“If the Afghan president is really intending to investigate about the issue and discuss it with Pakistan, a UN delegation should be assigned to investigate certain parts of the incident. The outcomes would be good, I think because Afghans have always had defensive strategy and have been silent towards all such incidents. This has caused Pakistani Generals to do whatever they want inside Afghanistan,” Mr Massoud said.

On Wednesday President Karzai said that he will investigate about the issue with the help of international community.

“Jhangvi is based in Pakistan. So, the Afghan government, with the support of the international community, will follow up on the issue. Afghanistan will never forgive the wounding of innocent children,” Mr Karzai said.

The deadly suicide attack at Abul Fazl Shrine in Kabul took the lives of more than 59 people and nearly 200 people were wounded in the incident.

Lashkari Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Courtesy » ToloNews

Beyond Borders, a journey of friendship between India and Pakistan by Shariq Ali

The village was small and the entire community was tied together like a family, with common cultural values and traditions evolved over hundreds, if not thousands of years. They were farmers and knew very well as to how to work in the fields and love and sing together, but had poor understanding of the political realities of their times.

One day, they saw the sunset as one community but at the dawn, realized that the village is divided by an invisible line created not by Hindus and Muslims, but by few British advisors called Radcliffe commission. And so was the territory of 88 million people of the subcontinent. ….

Read more » ValueVersity

Join Tri-State (NY, NJ and CT) Sindhi Community in celebrating International Sindhi Cultural & Solidarity Day

Join Tri-State (NY, NJ and CT) Sindhi Community in celebrating International Sindhi Cultural & Solidarity Day

Venue: Kabab King Mehal, 495 Hempstead Turnpike, West Hempstead, NY 11552. Date: Saturday November 26th, 2011 , Time:7:00 pm

Wear Sindhi Ajrak and Topi and Join millions of Sindhis all over the world in celebrating their culture, language and heritage. Sindhi people cherish their Universalist peace cultural practices. This event is open to all ages. Event includes food, music concert and cultural demonstrations.

Zero Tolerance for Religious Extremism in Sindh – Hundreds March against Murders of Hindus

Hyderabad: Hundreds of protesters marched in Hyderabad city against the murder of three Hindus in Shikarpur on the call of Joint Action Committee for Peace and Justice. The protest march began from the Besant Hall, a 20th century Theosophical Society icon of Sindh under the slogan of “Fill the Besant Hall against Religious Intolerance.”

The marchers that walked on in various roads of the down town for a few hours culminated into congregations in front of Hyderabad Press Club. The prominent of which were Punhal Sariyo (Sindh Harri Porhiyat Council), Zulfiqar Shah (Institute for Social Movements), Rasool Bux Palejo (Awami Tehreek), Amar Sindhu (Women Action Forum), Mustafa Baloch (Strengthening Participatory Organization), Dr. Ashothama (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), Jabar Bhatti (Indus Institute for Research and Education), Mahesh Kumar (We Journalist, Pakistan), Jaffer Memon (Hyderabad Press Club), Iqbal Mallah, Shehnaz Shidi (South Asia Partnerships Pakistan), Akash Mallah (Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz) Noor Nabi Rahoojo and Vishno Mal(Awami Jamhoori Party), Jan Mohammad Junejo (Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party), Nawaz Khan Zaunr (Jeay Sindh Mahaz), Seher Rizvi (Sindh United Party), Hafeez Kumbhar, Noor Mohammad Bajeer (Civil Society Support Program), Parveen Magsi (Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum), Kashif Bajeer (SPARC), Taj marri (Awami Party), Zahid Messo (Bhandar Sangat), Ikhtyar Tunio (SDPD Nawabsha), Rahmatullah Truk (VISWA – Matyari), Advocate Sajjad Chandio, Advocate Inderjit Luhano, Abass Khoso (IRADO) and others.

A declaration was read out and was unanimously carried by the participants. The resolution is as under:

Continue reading Zero Tolerance for Religious Extremism in Sindh – Hundreds March against Murders of Hindus

World Sindhi Congress Condemns and Mourns the Brutal Murder of Sindhi Hindu Doctors

London (Press release) – World Sindhi Congress (WSC) alongside the entire Sindhi nation is deeply shocked, saddened and mourns the barbaric and inhuman murder of three young Sindhi Hindu doctors in the town of Chakk, district Shikarpuron 7th November. Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh and Dr Ajeet were gunned down and Dr Satia Paul was critically wounded when people of Bhaya tribe opened fire on them while they were working in their clinic in their native town Chakk.

The initial reports suggest that these doctors along with other Sindhi communities were taking a stand against the harassment and potential abduction and forcible conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls in Chakk. The menace of abduction, rape and forcible conversion of religious minority community girls, particularly from poor Sindhi Hindu communities in Sindh have increased exponentially in last couple of years in the atmosphere of rising religious extremism and intolerance. Scores of such events remain completely unreported because of fear of persecution by the powerful perpetrators and religious zealots. The state apparatus and those responsible for providing the security are widely seen as companion culprits in these crimes.

WSC believes that it is a systematic policy of the establishment since its inception to create an atmosphere of fear, persecution and insecurity to force Sindhi Hindus to migrate. This is in part a strategy to convert Sindhis in minority and to devoid Sindh of professional and middle class in order to suffocate its societal progress. Resulting from the fears and insecurities the Sindhi Hindus have been continuously migrating from their motherland the process has only significantly sped up in recent years.

WSC views this gruesome event as a conspiracy to send a deep and wide-ranging wave of terror among already frightened Sindhi Hindus to migrate. The perpetrators include the shameless sardar of Bhaya tribe, local police, civil administration and agencies. The criminals have attacked the secular fabric of Sindhi society, but they will fail as the entire Sindhi nation mourns the death of these three martyrs. WSC strongly demands that the culprits particularly those behind the atrocities should be brought to justice.

WSC at this saddest moment in their lives, send its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who have been taken away by the evil forces of darkness. We know that nothing can lessen the pain of this loss, but let we reiterate that WSC and the entire Sindhi nation share their pain, sadness and grief, not only them but the entire secular Sindhi nation is grieving.

WSC is in contact with the UN Human Rights Council and other international human rights organisations requesting them to press upon the Pakistani government in order to investigate and stop systematically on going gross violations of human rights of religious minorities.

Forced Convergence and Killing of Hindus in Pakistan

– By Zulfiqar Halepoto, on behalf of the entire team of Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF)

We strongly condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in their clinic in Chak town close to district Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan. Shikarpur by armed men of Bhayo tribe, a beradari. The head of Bhayo beradari is district president of PPP. First they tried to kidnap Sindhi Hindu girls and tried to forcibly convert them into Islam and when the Sindhi Hindu community took strong notice then the Bhayo tribe people did an ambush at the clinic and Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh, Dr Ajeet and Dr Satia Paul were killed by armed assailants while working in their clinic even on Eid day.

This is an inhuman, immoral and illegal brutality against those who serve the people as doctors and savors. This act is a black dot on the face of secular, progressive and tolerant identity of Sindhi society.

This is not the first time such an incident has taken place where members of Sindhi Hindu community have been targeted. What is of concern is that the law enforcement agencies tend to support the criminals involved in such acts.

Religious minorities, vulnerable groups and women are the victim of an ANTI-HUMAN mindset comprised of local feudals, tribal chief, religious extremists and local agencies. They collaborate with each other to weaken the state writ and to develop their own hegemony.

Their being in power have collapsed the entire law and order and justice systems and paralyzed the administrative institutions to demonstrate their duties. And subsequently there is no state writ in these areas. We appeal to the government, political parties and civil society to take notice of this brutality and religious fascism and specially government to make arrangements to protect the citizens.

First we appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari to immediately suspend PPP district Shikarpur president so-called sardar Bhayo, orders must immediately be issued to arrest him and all other culprits, who are exploiting local administration. We appeal Chief Justice of Pakistan to take Suo Motto of the targeting of Hindus in parts of Sindh.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

Shameful act against humanity: Three Sindhi Hindus killed in Pakistan

Three Hindus killed in Pakistan

Islamabad: Three members of the minority Hindu community were killed when unidentified persons attacked a village in Sindh province of southern Pakistan on Monday, officials said.

Another Hindu was seriously injured in the attack at Taluka Chak in Shikarpur district.

President Asif Ali Zardari took “serious note” of the attack on members of the Hindu community and directed authorities to immediately arrest those responsible and bring them to justice.

Zardari had sought an immediate report on the incident, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said. Zardari instructed Ramesh Lal, a Hindu parliamentarian from Sindh, to go to the village and convey his condolences to the bereaved families.

The President said it was the “moral and legal responsibility of the government to protect members of the minority community against vandalism and atrocities”.

Babar quoted Zardari as saying that the “law would take its course and the culprits will not go unpunished“.

Courtesy » ZeeNews

Vanishing Sindhis!

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

I share the following appeal from Mr. Mekan Vandiyar on “Vanishing Sindhis!”. Please share your comments and suggestions to mekan39@yahoo.com

My own comment is that Sindhis in Sindh, Sindhis in India and Sindhis living elsewhere should not be disheartened as there are encouraging signs that Sindhis all over the world can even say today “here is a Sindhi girl / boy from the Globe”. I do not have much insight into the notion that Sindhis in India can win a separate province, however, I feel that the harsh barriers that have kept Sindhis in India and Sindhis in Sindh, Pakistan away from each other will soon vanish and all Sindhis will also be be able to say “”here is a Sindhi girl / boy who loves Sindh as much as their new homeland“.

A recent announcement by the Indian and Pakistani government that they are normalizing business and economic relations and giving each other the “most favorite trading partner” status is one of those signs. The Sindhis from all over the world should not only encourage but also organize and participate in events that welcome every Sindhi regardless of where they live now. For example, the Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) whose members predominantly consist of those who migrated from Sindh (Pakistan) into the USA has been in the forefront of inviting prominent educationalists, political leaders, and writers who now live in India. It is time that all other Sindhi associations also follow this practice to bridge the gaps that may exist between various Sindhi communities.

Lastly, I assure Mr. Vandiyar that Sindhis in Sindh are more than ever determined to protect and advance Sindhi language, Sindhi heritage, Sindh culture of peace, and Sindhi identity. They are and will continue provide all their support to Sindhis in India or elsewhere in the world in their efforts to protect their and advance their Sindhi language, Sindhi heritage, Sindh culture, and Sindhi identity.

Continue reading Vanishing Sindhis!

A Pakistani Christian student’s question to the High Court

Is a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow Muslim?

“A young Pakistani student belonging to the Christian faith has posed an interesting question through a petition in the Lahore High Court. The question is: Am I, a Pakistani Christian equal to a fellow citizen who is a Muslim ? For those of the readers who missed the news item reported by an English daily, this young student belongs to a low income group, is a practicing Christian and extremely bright. She has been competing to get into the King Edwards Medical College but was beaten on the list by 20 marks by a Muslim student who got the extra 20 marks for being Hafiz–e-Quran. So, now this young Christian girl has filed a plea in the Lahore Court declaring that she and the Muslim student had equal marks but the latter got the advantage of religion. The young Christian student claims that “this is discrimination against religious minority students and a violation of fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of Pakistan.” The petition admitted by the Lahore High Court demands that either the LHC should rule to abolish the policy or should declare that a parallel policy should be made to award twenty additional marks to religious minority students on the basis of their religious knowledge. Fifty eight years after the creation of the country to ask such a question through the courts is both tragic and hopeful”.
Constitution of Pakistan, Part II, Chapter -1, Fundamental Rights, Article 22 says:-

(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.

(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.

(3) Subject to law: (a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and

(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.

(4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent any public authority from making provision for the advancement of any socially or educationally backward class of citizens.

Read more » Pak Tribune

Pak society is “effectively cannibalizing itself” due to dehumanization of Ahmadis

Ahmadis: The lightning rod that attracts the most hatred

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.– Illutration by Faraz Aamer Khan

By Zofeen T. Ebrahim, DAWN.COM

A month after ten Ahmadi students were expelled from two schools in the village of Dharinwala, in Faisalabad district, all have been put back to school, not in there old ones, but in two schools in Hafizabad, thanks to Khalil Ahmad, father and grandfather of four students who were among those expelled.

“I managed to get all of them enrolled in two schools in the nearby city of Hafizabad,” he said talking to Dawn.com over phone from his village.

But it’s not been easy. Most parents of the expelled children are too poor, so Ahmed volunteered to pay for their admissions, their books and stationery. And that is not all. He, with the help of his two sons, makes sure they drop and pick all of them on a motorbike, doing turns.

In one school, the principal knows he has given admission to Ahmadi students but the educator believes faith should not come in the way of those seeking education. “In the other the principal has not been told,” Ahmed revealed.

Sadly, all during this episode, the government has remained a quiet bystander, as always.

It is not the first time that students have been expelled from an educational institution in Punjab because of their religious affiliations, remarked Bushra Gohar, a parliamentarian belonging to the secular Awami National Party.  According to Gohar, her party members had condemned the expulsion of students belonging to the Ahmadiyya community each time on the floor of the house. “However, a protest or condemnation from the parties leading in the Punjab has not been forthcoming,” she said.

For far too long, Pakistani students belonging to this minority community have been facing various forms of discrimination based on their faith.

“This tidal wave against the Ahmadiyya education shows no sign of ebbing,” Saleemuddin, the spokesperson of the Ahmaddiya Jammat, told Dawn.com.

He said after 1984, when the government promulgated the anti Ahmadiyya ordinance, both the government and the clerics have been trying their utmost to punish them in various ways.

“Ahmadi lecturers were posted away to distant locations and some were not allowed to teach. Ahmadi principals and headmasters were replaced. Ahmadi students were deprived admission in professional colleges. They were refused accommodation in attached hostels. They suffered attacks by extremist elements on campuses.”

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Islami Jamiat Talaba, the student wing of the Islami Jamiat has been tasked to cleanse the educational institutions, including universities and professional colleges of Ahmadi students.

Hasan Ahmed, who was among the 23 students who were expelled from Punjab Medical College, in Faisalabad, back in 2008, can never forget the stressful event and how “night after night, for over a month” he kept stressing over the events that turned his settled student life all topsy-turvy.

“I knew it happened to others, so was not completely caught unawares,” Hasan acknowledged. He is at present completing his house job in Lahore, keeping an “ultra busy schedule”.

Eventually all were re-instated in some college or another. “After months of waiting, just before exam, my friend was sent to Bahawalpur while I went off to a distant place of Rahimyar Khan in a college of lower merit,” narrated Hasan.

After a gargantuan effort, he was finally allowed to appear in exams from Lahore and then got admitted to Allama Iqbal Medical College, in Lahore.

“To be in a state of flux was the worst part of this episode specially since exams were approaching and I didn’t know which place I was to appear from,” said Hasan.

He expressed that till the identity of an Ahmadi remains undisclosed “he remains safe”.

But that is sadly not the case if you are living in Pakistan. People are culturally nosy and want to know your cast and sect. “Eventually they end up finding that you are an Ahmadi. Once they know, you can feel a change of attitude and it just takes a mischief maker to exploit others’ feelings against you,” said Hasan.

Till Hina Akram’s faith remained unknown to her teacher in Faislabad’s National Textile University, she was considered a star student. But after it became known she belonged to the Ahmadiyya community, she faced so much faith-based harassment that she had to quit studies.

“I was told to convert to Islam,” said Hina, who was studying in the sixth semester of her BSc.

“I was handed some anti-Ahmadiyya literature to read, offered a refuge in Muslim home. But when she told the teacher she was an Ahmadi by choice he called her an infidel and warned her of severe consequences.

“You will face such a fire of animosity in the campus that not even the vice chancellor will be able to help you,” he threatened her.

True to his word, a hate campaign was initiated and a social boycott began. Out of college, she is desperately trying to go abroad. Her fate remains in balance.

But it’s not just the education aspect where the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby is hitting, said Saleemuddin. Since 1984, some 208 faith-based killings have taken place. The persecution against the community has surged following the May 28, 2010 massacre of 94 members of the community in Lahore.

After the four million Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims in 1984 by the state, they cannot call themselves Muslims or go to mosques. They cannot be overheard praising Prophet Mohammad. To add insult to injury, every Pakistani who claims to be a Muslim and owns a passport has declared that he or she considers them to be non-Muslims and their leader an imposter prophet.

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.

“The extremist elements are getting more and more powerful because of Saudi-US influence and the government’s policy of appeasement,” said I.A. Rehman, General Secretary Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“The Ahmadis are already the worst persecuted minority in our country – and things for them appear to be growing worse as hatred and intolerance spread,” Kamila Hyat, a journalist and a rights activist echoed the same sentiments. “The lack of enforcement of laws to prevent the preaching of hatred adds to the problem,” she added.

Saleemuddin said by allowing the extremist clerics to hold anti-Ahmadiyya rallies and conferences, the government is adding fuel to this venom. “People are openly instigated to kill us in the name of Islam,” he said.

“Violence and the advance of bigotry, prejudice and hate against minorities have never really been met with the resolve needed to remove impunity from the social equation in Pakistan,” Sherry Rehman, a legislator belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, agreed.
Instead, she told Dawn.com what is seen is an “expansion in the space for religious and sectarian apartheids, which has led now to heinous acts of brutality and exclusion of many, particularly Ahmadis.”

She warned: “This is a dangerous trend that conflates national identity with religion.”

Perhaps that is one reason why Pervez Hoodbhoy expresses: “Today, when religion has become so central in matters of the state, they [Ahmadis] do not stand a chance in Pakistan of getting rights, respect, and dignity. The overdose of religion given to young Pakistanis in their schools and homes means that nothing matters more than which religion and sect you belong to. Ahmadis are the lightning rod that attracts more hatred than any other sect.”

For its part rights groups like the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) say they have “repeatedly” raised the issue of “state tolerated persecution”.

“We are urging authorities to intervene in each case,” said Rehman. “But the situation is getting worse day by day.

Terming it “abhorrent and self defeating” when society allows “for the dehumanization of Ahmadis or Christians or the Shia for that matter, it is effectively cannibalizing itself,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of HRW.

“The federal government expresses regret at incidents but has made clear its unwillingness to repeal or amend discriminatory laws,” said HRW spokesperson.

Given the current intolerance, the fate of the new generation of Pakistani Ahmadis looks “quite bleak” said Rehman.

Even Hoodbhoy said: “For years, Ahmadis, Hindus, and Christians have been desperately seeking to flee Pakistan. They would be foolish to want to stay,” said Hoodbhoy.

This fails to dampen young Hasan’s spirits. He thinks the future looks “brighter than ever before”.

“Even if the situation is made worse in Pakistan, this does not mean the future is not bright. It’s a matter of time before we start getting equal rights in this country.

Often when they get together, the young Ahmadis discuss the “bitter realities” they have to face as Pakistanis.

“But we don’t want to leave our country at the juncture that it is at,” said a patriotic Hasan. This is because the contribution of the Ahmadi community towards building of Pakistan has been immense,” he said with conviction.

He said recently their leader urged all Ahmadis of the world to “fast once a week and pray” especially for the prosperity of Pakistan.”

Zofeen T. Ebrahim is a freelance journalist.

Courtesy » DAWN.COM

Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

To counter the emergence of fundamentalism in Pakistan, the ruling classes as well as intellectuals are advocating the revival of sufism. However, it is evident that ideas and the system cannot be revived because fundamentalism is a product of a certain time and space and fulfills the needs of that age.

Secondly, the very idea of revivalism indicates intellectual bankruptcy and lethargy of our intellectuals who are either not ready or do not have the capacity to understand the very phenomenon of religious extremism and its advent as a result of social, economic and political changes in society. A number of myths are associated with sufis. One of the arguments being that they converted non-Muslims and are responsible for the spread of Islam through the subcontinent. To portray them as missionaries discredits them as an impartial community. To convert someone means that they initially did not believe in the truthfulness of other religions. If this view is correct, it does not explain how they could create goodwill among people belonging to different religions.

Continue reading Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

New York Students Stage Walkouts in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

– By Rebecca Nathanson

​Inspired by Occupy Wall Street, students from around New York will walk out of their classes and march down to City Hall this afternoon. Once at City Hall, the students will join the larger Community/Labor March to Wall Street,which already has almost 3,000 people attending on Facebook.

A few months ago, New York Students Rising, a “statewide network of students and campus-organizations dedicated to defending public higher education and empowering students in New York State,” according to its website, started organizing around budget cuts in the CUNY and SUNY systems and began to plan for a fall protest. Now, thanks to a chance scheduling overlap with Occupy Wall Street, it has morphed into a solidarity march, and other universities are joining in as well.

Students from Columbia, The New School, and NYU have been organizing for the walkouts, scheduled at 3:30 p.m. (for Columbia) and 4 p.m. (for NYU and the New School), in time to get to the 4:30 march. In addition, students and teachers at CUNY and SUNY schools will be holding teach-ins prior to walking out. ….

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