Caste and religion create barriers in Sindh | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 09.09.2010
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Caste and religion create barriers in Sindh

In Pakistan's Sindh province, many complain of not getting aid from the government, including the country's Hindus. The lower castes are particularly affected since the upper castes also deny them food and shelter.


A Pakistani woman at a camp for families displaced by floods in Sukkar, Sindh province

More than 60-thousand people affected by floods now live in a vegetable market in Hyderabad, the second largest city of the Sindh province of Pakistan. Around a thousand of of these are low caste Hindus who have been confined to an area of the market that has no roof.

Begi Rasiya is one of the flood affected women. The flood washed away her house but she managed to save her four children: "All of us Hindus were enrolled in a camp, then somebody took our enrolment papers away from us and has not returned them. We don’t know where to go from here. The police beat us because we are poor Hindus. The people in charge of the camp also don't take care of us."

Pakistan Flut NO FLASH

At an aid camp in Sukkar, Sindh province

Fighting for aid

The feudal system is very much in place in the Sindh province. Few of the poor fight for their rights. Many of them are fearful of retaliation from upper caste Hindus and Muslims. 30 year old Ganga has been living without shelter for more than three weeks. Her two children have diarrhoea: " My parents and I are Pakistanis and we want to live in Pakistan. We don’t get any ration, any food or water. People come and call us Hindu and say that Hindus will never get anything. Why are we being punished?"

Amir Ali Shah Jhmoot is a relief worker in charge of camps in Hyderabad. He is also a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan. He says that many Hindus don't belong here."I know they are not from this area and are not affected from the flood. But even then we provide all facilities to them. "

Optimism in the face of adversity

Mohit Kohli is a member of the Hindu community and a religious person. His family live in a tent which he received from the government. He says it is not good to complain all the time. "We are satisfied with the response from the government and the common people and everyone is doing what he can do. I pray to all to be happy. It is good that at least we get something. People now at least get something which is fine. "

Mohit is playing music with his friends to please his god. 45 year old wage labourer Yadev is sitting beside Mohit. He joins the chanting. Yadev regularly participates in songs since the flood destroyed his house. "The Flood has taken away most of the worldly items. Mother Ganga has to wash away the sins which people commit."

In the entire camp, these two are the only Hindus who are somewhat satisfied. One of them is satisfied because he receives aid from the camp management while the other says everything will become normal soon. In Sindh province, the flood waters have not receded and many homes are still flooded. Some expect it will be months before people can return to their homes.

Author: Mudassar Shah, Sindh Province

Editor: Chi Viet Giang