UK protest over 8-year-old Hindu boy’s blasphemy turmoil in Pakistan

UK protest over 8-year-old Hindu boy’s blasphemy turmoil in Pakistan

Representatives of British Hindu organisations gathered outside the Pakistani High Commission in London to register a strong protest and urge action over the turmoil faced by an eight-year-old Hindu boy slammed with charges under Pakistan’s deadly blasphemy laws.

The boy, the youngest known to be charged under the laws, was accused of intentionally urinating on a carpet in the library of a madrassa housing religious texts. While the local police dropped charges against the boy under pressure from the media, he and his family remain in hiding amid threats to their life.

In London, the protesters gathered with placards and posters and chanted slogans to highlight the wider issue of persecution of minorities in Pakistan.

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“Hindus are rooted in philosophies which embody mutual respect. We hope that the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and other countries where they have difficulties improves and we hope to work together with institutions in these countries to build a better future,” said the British Hindus Facebook group, among those at the protest on August 15.

Rashmi Samant, the Indian student at Oxford University who herself dealt with Hinduphobic attacks and cyber bullying, was among those who addressed the crowd.

“For the first time in history we spoke openly about Hindu persecution and how little children are paying the price with forced conversions, blasphemy charges and rape in Pakistan,” she said.

UK-based groups, including Insight UK, Hindu Human Rights and Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), are among those campaigning actively over the issue of minority persecution for months. HFB had earlier issued a letter addressed to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging intervention with Pakistan President Imran Khan and action over incidents of attacks on Hindus and their places of worship in Pakistan.

In the latest incident, Insight UK said that while the charges against the eight-year-old boy may have been dropped, the family’s life remains in danger.

“There are open threats that even if the court or government drops the blasphemy charges, the community won’t spare them,” the group said.

“This peaceful protest was livestreamed via many social media channels. We hope wider awareness was raised to the general public about what is happening in Pakistan, and although the protest was a success, this is just the start,” said Insight UK, which is planning a series of follow up events, including an awareness campaign for members of Parliament in Britain.

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