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UK protests against Kazakh Hindus harassment

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LONDON: British Prime Minister Tony Blair has raised the issue of alleged harassment of Kazakh Hindus with the Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev at a meeting in London.

The Hindu Forum of Britain alleged on Wednesday that 60 riot police and bulldozers assembled inside a Hindu temple in Kazakhstan and demolished five Hindu houses. According to the forum, the Kazakh government is allegedly planning to bulldoze a Hindu temple in the Karasai District in Kazakhstan.

In an effort to highlight the plight of Hindus in Kazakhstan, Ashok Kumar, Member of Parliament, has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

The motion said: "This House, prior to the visit of the President of Kazakhstan, condemns the harassment of and discrimination against Hindu minorities in Kazakhstan; notes that Hindus in the Karasai district have had land, barns and cows confiscated, have been threatened with demolition of their houses, and denied the right to own land.

It further notes that Kazakh Hindus who applied for ownership of their houses were asked to declare that they were not Hindus, while non-Hindus who made similar applications were immediately granted ownership rights. The motion also acknowledges that the Supreme Court reviewed two cases regarding Hindu cottages and ruled against Hindus, without inviting the plaintiffs to the hearings.

Forum 18, a human rights website has linked the Kazakh President's brother to the demolition and land-grab attempt suggesting that the value of the land could be the reason why Hindus are being harassed and subjected to human rights violations.

"The human rights violation against Kazakh Hindus has caused worldwide condemnation," Sudarshan Bhatia, President of the National Council of Hindu Temples, UK, who is leading the Defend Kazakh Hindus Campaign, said.

"We ask for a complete review of decisions made against Hindus in the court, call upon the President to order the Karasai District Hakimat to have all cases against the Kazakh Hindus withdrawn and basic human rights values restored," Ishwer Tailor, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain, said.


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