Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora:
A Survey of Human Rights
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”
(Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 1)
“Religious persecution may shield itself under
the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety”
(Edmund Burke, February 17, 1788)
Board of Directors
Aseem R. Shukla, M.D.
Nikhil N. Joshi, Esq., M.B.A.
Suhag A. Shukla, Esq.
Rajan Patel, Ph.D
Ramesh Rao, Ph.D
American Foundation (HAF) is a human rights group whose purpose is to
provide a voice for the 2 million Hindu Americans in the United States. HAF interacts
with and educates government, media, think tanks, academia and public fora
about Hinduism and issues of concern to Hindus locally and globally. Promoting
the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism, HAF
stands strong against hate, discrimination, defamation and terror. The Hindu
American Foundation is not affiliated with any religious or political
organizations or entities. HAF seeks to serve Hindu Americans across all
sampradayas (Hindu religious traditions). .
This is the second of our annual Hindu human rights reports. As in the past year, numerous grass-roots organizations were involved in collecting data about the violation of human rights of Hindu minorities, and we thank them for sharing the information they have gathered despite great adversity – in terms of their own physical safety, and the financial pressures involved with their work. We would like to thank the many organizations working for the welfare of Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India’s State of Jammu and Kashmir. Chief among these organizations are the Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikya Parishad (Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council – BHBCUC) -- which provided us with critical data of the daily violence against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh; Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) -- an organization that has been at the forefront of publicizing the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh; Hindu Human Rights – an important presence on the internet documenting the attacks on Hindu minorities around the world; Indo-American Kashmir Forum, and Kashmiri Overseas Association – that have worked to bring the attention of the United States government and media to the plight of Kashmiri Hindus; Panun Kashmir – working hard to recover the lost properties and homes of Hindus forced to leave the Kashmir valley; Global Human Rights Defence – seeking to educate European media and government about the status of human rights worldwide; and South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre – which keeps track of human rights abuses in South Asia.
We acknowledge the work of global human rights organizations – Amnesty International, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and others – in bringing to our attention the denial of human rights in the sub-regions in South Asia. Also, important historical information and contemporary updates were obtained from the U.S. Department of State’s annual reports on religious freedom and human rights, and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual reports.
HAF interns Rajit Das and Preetom Sikder gathered data for this report. Shelvin Prasad was instrumental in compiling the report on the Republic of the Fiji Islands.
Finally, we thank Sam Hummel of Lost, New Hampshire for the cover photograph. Minu Shukla designed the cover and maps for the 2004 report. Pawan Deshpande designed the cover and additional maps for the 2005 report.