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Parliament to take up Russian Hindus case

British MPs have filed an Early Day Motion at House of Commons to discuss the alleged harassment of Russian Hindus.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 18:56 IST
UK Bureau
UK Bureau
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British Parliamentarians have filed an Early Day Motion at the House of Commons to discuss the alleged harassment of Russian Hindus. An appeal has also been made for more MPs to sign up and support the Early Day Motion in the British Parliament.

Hindu Forum of Britain has also appealed that community members urge their local MPs to sign the motion.

Meanwhile, while acknowledging that Hindus in Russia face difficulties in practising their faith freely, Foreign Minister, Douglas Alexander, assured the House of Commons on January 25 that the inability to establish a permanent place of worship for Hindus would be discussed with Russian officials at the EU as part of Britain's ongoing dialogue with Russia.

Alexander said that while responding to a written question raised by Conservative MP James Clappison requesting the Foreign Secretary's assessment of the treatment of Hindus in Russia and the effect on the community of the loss of the Hindu temple in Moscow

Minister Alexander said, "The Hindu community, like a number of other religious communities have faced difficulties freely practicing their faith in Russia. These include the inability to establish a permanent place of worship in Moscow since the demolition of the Hindu temple in 2004. We raise the issue of religious freedom during regular EU and bilateral contact with the Russian Government. We will continue to monitor this and other religious freedom issues in Russia and raise them as appropriate in the course of our ongoing dialogue."

Earlier, a multi-party Early Day Motion led by Labour MP Ashok Kumar expressed Parliamentary support for the Defend Russian Hindus campaign and regretted the intolerance shown towards Russian Hindus manifest as denial to establish a place of worship.

Members of the Russian Orthodox Church had orchestrated mass protests and started a misinformation campaign against Hindus in the Russian media, explained Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain. "Many Hindus have and still are being victimised, threatened, bullied and even beaten and subjected to violence," he said.

Last month Archbishop Nikon of the Orthodox Church had described Lord Krishna as an "evil demon, the personified power of hell, opposing God", and sparked worldwide condemnation. The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone had also shown his concern for the harassment of Russian Hindus by discussing the matter with the visiting Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov on h January 15, when he handed over letters of protest from the Hindu Forum of Britain and other organizations.

British Parliamentarians will also be seeking a meeting with the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to discuss the issues faced by Russian Hindus and lead a delegation to meet the Russian Ambassador in the UK.

On January 18, members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Muslim Council of Britain, and the Catholic Bishops Conference had joined hands with Hindu organizations to unanimously call for more respect and tolerance to allow Russian Hindus the same right to a place of worship as other communities.