Hindu holy man’s kidnap in Pakistan triggers protests – by Amir Mir

Source: DNA, Dec 24, 2010

The kidnapping of Pakistan’s most revered Hindu spiritual leader, 85-year old Lakki Chand Garji, of Kali Mata Mandir in Balochistan’s Kalat district, has caused widespread protests by Hindus.

Garji was travelling from Kalat to Khuzdar area to attend a marriage ceremony when he was intercepted by armed men and kidnapped at gunpoint. They also kidnapped a few others who were with him, but released one of them after his family paid a ransom.

Protesting the kidnapping on Wednesday, hundreds of Hindus blocked roads bringing traffic to a halt.

The protestors also demonstrated in Khuzdar, Quetta, Kalat and Naushki areas of Balochistan demanding that the government secured the immediate release of their spiritual leader besides providing security to Hindus.

Chief minister of Balochistan province, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, told reporters that he believed the kidnap was for ransom and had no religious overtones. He said he had ordered the police and law enforcement agencies to secure Garji’s release at the earliest.

Raisani noted that the kidnapping for ransom cases had risen in certain areas of the province and instructed district officials to take action to prevent this.

Addressing the protestors in Khuzdar, their leaders Nand Lal, Raj Kumar and Chander Kumar said the government had failed to protect the life and property of the people, particularly those belonging to the minority community.

The Hindu Panchayat Quetta also organised a rally from the Aria Samaj Mandir in Quetta and marched through Jinnah Road, Masjid Road, Shahra-e-Iqbal and Mannan Chowk.