Balochistan’s Hindu Community Forced To Flee To Escape Persecution
The Hindu community of the Wadh tehsil of district Khuzdar, Balochistan has been receiving threatening letters, asking them to impose a complete ban on the entry of women in their shops or face ‘dire consequences’.
Unidentified people put up the pamphlets outside the shops of Hindu traders in the main markets on Saturday morning. Such pamphlets were also found affixed to signboards on the Quetta-Karachi national highway and some buildings.
The traders were warned that they would face dire consequences if they did not follow the instructions issued in the pamphlet.
Not long ago, Ashok Kumar, a young Hindu businessman, was shot and killed inside his shop by unidentified assailants.
According to police sources, the businessman had refused to pay extortion money to a local gang because of which he was attacked inside his shop and shot multiple times. He was taken to the hospital immediately after the incident, but he succumbed to his wounds.
Following this tragic incident, traders from all religious communities held protest rallies demanding justice for the slain businessman. Protestors blocked the Karachi-Quetta national highway and demanded swift justice for Ashok.
However, this is not the first time a Hindu businessman has been shot in Khuzdar.
Just a few months before Ashok’s murder, a Hindu businessman, Nanak Ram, was killed in the Wadh area for not paying extortion money to local gangs. In a similar incident, another Hindu businessman from the Hub area of Balochistan was shot and killed along with his son. Earlier, a Hindu businessman along with his son was killed in the Hub area of Balochistan while another was killed in Chaman in what seems to be a series of targeted killings of Hindus in the province.
“Over 90 per cent of Balochistan’s Hindu community is involved in the trading business. And such incidents are not only causing loss of lives, but are also affecting the environment of the area. Our community now feels unsafe and many members are resorting to migration after these events,” says Kamal Kumar, a human rights activist and representative of the Hindu community.
People belonging to the Hindu community have lived in Balochistan for centuries.
Before the security situation in Balochistan deteriorated in 2002, they were living a peaceful life in most areas but incidents of kidnapping for ransom that started in 2002 and other similar events have now become a regular occurrence especially after 2008. Most of these incidents have taken place in Quetta, Kalat, and Naseerabad.