Friday, October 7, 2011

Don’t make Roma a ‘scapegoat’ for all ills: US Hindu Group to Europe

Source: News Bharati     

Rajan Zed
Rajan Zed

Nevada (US), October 4: A Hindu group of US has asked Europe to find another scapegoat in place of Roma (Gypsies) to blame for their ills and instead work on ending long time apartheid faced by them. Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Monday, said that it was now time for Europe to move on and select scapegoat other than Roma who had held that ‘title’ for quite some time.

Referring to the recent anti-Roma movements in Bulgaria, Hungary and Czech Republic, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged immediate intervention of European Union to safeguard the Roma communities and their civil rights. All Europeans, Roma or non-Roma, should be treated fairly and should have equal access to all opportunities and privileges.

He argued that Hungary should focus on Roma upliftment programs instead blaming them for all the crime. Reported prejudices, intolerance, violence, racist overtones and hate speech against Roma in Bulgaria needed to end and instead the country should work on "inclusion" of Roma.

Roma are a subgroup of the Romani people which is an ethnic group with origins in India who are widely dispersed with their largest concentrated populations in Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, with more recent diaspora populations in the Americas and, to a lesser extent, in North Africa and the Middle East. Romas are also known as ‘Gypsies’, who live primarily in Central and Eastern Europe (including Italy), as well as in the Balkans and Western Anatolia, and as recent immigrants in Western Europe and the Americas. Roma is also used as a synonym for the whole Romani people.

Reported call for dismantling of Roma settlements by some groups in Bulgaria without providing them alternative accommodation was unfortunate and should be withdrawn. Politicians should not capitalize on ethnic tensions. Czech Republic needed better protection system for Roma, which reportedly saw recent marches and riots against them.

Zed commended reported call for peace and reinstatement of justice and solidarity of Bulgarian Orthodox Church and urged all religious groups and leaders in Europe to come to the rescue of Roma as religion told us to help the helpless.

He pointed out that Europe's most persecuted and discriminated community, Roma reportedly regularly encountered social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, etc.

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