Hindus under attack in TT

By Leiselle Maraj
Friday, July 13 2007

HinduThe Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has listed Trinidad and Tobago among ten countries in the world which abuse Hindus’ human rights in its third annual Hindu human rights report for 2006 published on Wednesday.

The HAF is a non-profit, non-partisan human rights group, “promoting the Hindu and American ideals of understanding, tolerance and pluralism,” according to the foundation’s website.

The report, “Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A survey of Human Rights 2006,” listed ten countries and one state in India where Hindus constitute a minority: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago.

Notice of the report’s existence came from a release from HAF Executive Director, Ishani Chowdhury, sent to Newsday by Radio Jaagriti CEO Devant Maharaj. Within this release HAF executive council member and the report’s primary author, Ramesh Rao stated the countries were not “rank-ordered in terms of level of discrimination and human rights abuse” and their listing did not mean that each was an abuser of human rights “to the same extent.”

Its summary stated that “racial and religious animosity between Afro-Caribbean and Indo- Caribbean (people) has been exacerbated over the years.

“Indo-Trinidadians have been systematically denied government benefits and employment in government service. The police have too often ignored attacks on Hindu-Trinidadians.”

Almost seven pages of the 200-plus page report are dedicated to detailing instances where the human rights of Hindu-Trinidadians have been abused.

It stated that contrary to the Constitution, Hindus in Trinidad and Tobago “experience discrimination and violation of their human rights in religion, culture, politics, economics, education, employment, housing, and health.”

“Worse yet, Hindus and Indians are targeted by organised gangs of kidnappers and murderers.”

The report also stated that Hindus were not allowed equivalent sums of money to organise religious and cultural event, as given to Christian groups and are sometimes not allowed outright to hold such events.

The report claims that “the People’s National Movement ruled for 30 consecutive years without appointing a single Hindu as a government minister. The cry of rural neglect, alienation, marginalisation and discrimination affected the political psychology of Indians as they lost hope of ever winning a general election.”

It cited the Trinity Cross issue where a new name and symbol for the nation’s highest award is yet to be commissioned and the seven-year legal struggle by Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha Secretary General, Satnarayan Maharaj for a radio broadcast license. Maharaj told Newsday yesterday, he read the report and said that Hindu discrimination in TT “is not an invention but a fact of life which we see happening all around us.”

“A number of US congressmen are alerted to the fact that Trinidad and Tobago discriminate against Hindus. There is no question that this report is accurate as it is on court record that the Hindu community was discriminated against in the radio license case.”

HAF recommended that the United States should encourage the TT Government to abide by the Constitution and guarantee safety and security to Hindus and Indo-Trinidadians.


UPDATE: July 15, 2007

Re: Hindus under attack in TT

Where is the evidence?

July 15, 2007

The allegations made by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) in the article “Hindus under attack in TT” come over as another propagandist, politically-motivated attempt to solidify Indians around election time.

There is no evidence to date that kidnappings in Trinidad and Tobago are racially motivated. It appears that kidnappers are of the two majority races in the country and they are targeting people who they believe have readily available cash and reside in areas where there is less security.

However, there is evidence that some of the reported kidnappings were staged and most of the people involved in fake kidnappings, in an attempt to extort money from their families, were Indians (See: “Fake kidnapping inquiry” and “She faked kidnapping to raise $100,000“).

The state’s refusal to grant Sat Maharaj a radio license was not necessarily because he was Indian and Hindu. It could very well have been because he has a history of making outrageous and racist statements against African people. There are several Indian radio stations in Trinidad and Tobago, but not one African radio station. Prior to the many Indian radio stations, the state media hosted Indian/Hindu programs on an almost daily basis for around twenty years. Sat Maharaj also had programs on the state media. There were never sustained African oriented programs on the state media: just tokens around Emancipation time. The people who make these claims of Indian and Hindu discrimination are not substantiating these allegations. They are just being sensational.

Another example is in the police service. How many Indians/Hindus applied to the police service and how many were able to pass the tests and were refused? Without this information we could be looking at something totally different. For example, we do not see many Indians coming forward to play football, but they do come forward to play cricket. So we cannot conclude that the absence of Indian footballers is as a result of racism. Traditionally, Indians did not participate in certain sports like football and basketball. Also, Indian families discouraged their children from joining the army and police services. Raffique Shah has written about this (See: Memories of Regiment’s first Indian officer…a personal experience).

On the other side, we have many claims of Africans trying to get into the field of medicine and other sciences in the UWI medical fraternity and they were not accepted despite meeting the requirements. Some of them who were refused entry went to other universities abroad to pursue their careers in those fields. There is now a call for the medical fraternity to be investigated surrounding these claims (See: Prof hits admission policy of Mt Hope medical school).

The allegations in the article imply that Indians and the Hindu section of the Indian community are being targeted for racial and cultural discrimination against them by the state and other ethnic groups in the society; they are not bringing forth the evidence to substantiate this. People who believe this should present the evidence so that it can be discussed and dealt with.


42 thoughts on “Hindus under attack in TT”

  1. I agreed with some of the individual comments. Many trinidadians say bad things about their island. First of all some of these people don’t even know their history. Trinidad is blessed and rich in oil. Second it is a cosmopolitan island. Third the crime well that is within those indians. They got money so their own people are committing with crime amongst themselves. Fourth it is a beautiful twin island of georgeous beaches and the food not forgetting their carnival and tourism. We are blessed compared to other island. Please trini wake up and acknowledge the facts. I was born their but my parents were from hong kong and venezuelan. I am proud of my island and sorry for the quacks who give trinidad a bad name. Your home is your home. Always remember that.

  2. that article is a BIG LIE! Any race that is experiencing discrimination in T&T its the NEGROES….

    Enough SAID!

  3. This caste system mentality that the opposition parties and their religious organs are currently “subtly” introducing into the society at large in T&T must be made illegal. A new system of governance will wipe it out for sure. It’s proponents are as dangerous as their religious counterparts who spew fanaticism such as the zionist in Isreal, who uses religion as a “guise” to oppress and exploit. Speaking out for all “jews” as though “all” the jews of the world are of eastern european extraction and hold their distorted beliefs. Crying wolf when they themselves are the wolves.

    Religion has no place in the society of T&T unless that place is private! Anyone who makes divisive claims for a national medal in the name of “their” religion should be viewed as someone who is an enemy of the “entire” nation. Religion must be kept out of politics!

    Though i don’t practice any of these “religions” my self, i do know that the Trinity Cross was named such because the name Trinidad means TRINITY in the spanish language, it seems like some education in “national” pride is required by those who denounce this national medal.

    These organizations do not speak for the majority of Hindus in T&T despite what some would like to believe.

    Religious organizations like the The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) have no legal jurisdiction to make any formal uneducated claims in T&T.

    They must first take a look at the immoral cast system that is still in “excistence” all over the world, specifically in India and especially in America, where the hindus from the diaspora (especially those born in Trinidad, Guyana, and Surinam) are viewed as lower caste “non-authentic” by those from India, and are therefore avoided by the larger Indian community.

    And just like the HAF, their US government “host” ignores the issue of the immoral and sick “apartheid” style cast system in India because India has become one of their colonies used for outsourcing cheap labor of all types! The US even gave their “blessing” to the continued nuclear developments in India, which will be used for outsourcing as well, while at the same time denouncing Iran.

    To make sense of what is happening in T&T we have to understand the nature of this new relationship between India and America!

    In the US, their are many of these types of organizations that are closely liked to the congress, or funded by the CIA like the Zionist ADL(Anti Defamation League) and JDL(Jewish Defence League) both financed for the same purpose as the (HAF). Just trace their money/funding and you will know what they are about!

    These “NGO’s” all have the same “text book” structure:

    1) Religious fanaticism (We are becoming culturally extinct unless we do something etc etc!)

    2) “Boggie man” claims of Anti-semitism, Anti-Hindu (Only when it’s something that they cant have, control or are against)

    3) Promotion and practice of apartheid style oppressive systems (under the guise of religion)

    4) Rogue funding (funding from sources that are highly illegal or questionable for non government organizations, $$ Millions!!!)

    5) Use of media to promote their one sided, highly destabilizing views (TV programs, radio stations etc)

    Therefore we clearly see that the (HAF) and it’s T&T cronie the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha are one and the same, both with the same agenda and therefore should be viewed in the same category. They should be viewed in the same way as the ADL(Anti Defamation League) and JDL(Jewish Defense League) are viewed.

    As structures created for the sole purpose of creating confusion, divisions and destabilization of peoples or nations, for their own selfish interest.

    Nothing in this “study” makes mention of or takes into account the divisive role played by some “similar” fanatical segments/organizations of the hindu population in Fiji and Singapore where those fanatics have been trying to oust the indigenous governments to the displeasure of both peoples.

    Also, Just for the record, 70 per cent of India’s 30 million Christians are Dalits “indians”. Yet have been denied basic benefits that rightly should be theirs because of the caste system. The United nations has repeatedly denounced this practice. So those who wish to bring it out into the open in T&T should be dealt with accordingly! No one is going back to the days of caste or slavery in T&T, i can assure you of this.

    So let us learn to separate the sheep from the wolves!

    “All” hindus in T&T do not support the fanatical views of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, most wont even want to be seen in close proximity to them because they are to busy trying to survive whiles bracing for the financial crisis that is imminent in T&T. The foundations of which were laid by Both Panday and Manning.

    Oh i happen to think that Anushka Shanker is as wicked as her dad on siter.
    So please her on Radio Jaagriti 102.7FM!!

    One T&T
    One Carribbean

  4. After having read all of your comments and responses on this issue I find myself grieved.I grieve for you my wonderful Trinidad & Tobago which seems to exist now only in my memory.Paradise is lost to us my people if we cannot forgive past hurts,put aside all base paranoia and hate and learn to finally allow ourselves to love and respect each other.
    We are different.And that is good.Where one is strong the other is weak so that we may be a blessing to each other.Our lives are but shadows that live only while the light lasts and then is no more as evening comes.
    When you next look at the face across the street that seems to bear no resemblance to you, look into his eyes and see the heartbreak there that is not unlike your own.
    We are not so different as you first thought.We are the same.we are brothers and sisters.Born under the same sun and sky.
    I grieve for you Trinidad & Tobago.
    But I also hope.

  5. Is there racism in Trinidad? Yes there is, and it it done by both the African and Indian. This is a legecy left over from the British where there policy was divide and rule. As long as the masses are fighting among themselves they will not be fighting the British Government. This policy is now being used by PNM and UNC, as long as the people are fighting each other they will be too busy to hold thier political parties accountable for the misery that the people of this nation is suffering.
    Keep calling each other names and be affraid of your neighbor, while you are busy doing that all you petro dollars are going into the pockets of the political parties and thier cronies. And one day you will wake up and find that Trinidad is not ruled by Africans of Indians but by foreign companies who will truly treat you as the victim you think you are now.
    Do you really think Mr. Manning and Mr. Panday cares about the people. They want you to keep calling each other “negro” and “coolie” and as long as your are busy doing this they can plunder the country.
    So wake up Trinidad and Tobago and start putting pressure on your parliment representitive to actually follow the laws of this land. You are your brothers keeper. When he is successful you are successful. Stop arguing with each other and turn that anger towards your political representive for better roads, better water supply, lower food cost, better medical care and many other services that you as a citizen of this great country deserve.

  6. Some good points David. The only thing will add is that unfortunately the people cannot go to the parliament for help. It is a neo-colonialist(new colonialist) organ of politics left by the very British, to continue this process of divide and rule, which is being done today so effectively, as you rightly noted. Things are to far gone now my friend.

    The only way out now is to take to the streets to win back the peoples power. Which has been hijacked by these corrupt parties involved in the blood bath taking place in our land.

    We have a few months to prepare our case by taking to the streets on APRIL 17-19, 2009 when the PM will be hosting the FTAA (FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS) meeting and lobbing to make Trinidad the base for this exploitative organization that will plunge Trinidad’s and the Caribbean and Latin American economies into virtual slavery. Under the control of the immoral,BANKRUPTED, US GOVERNMENT. IT WILL MAKE THE CARRIBEAN BASIN INITIATIVE LOOK LIKE A LAST LAP CHIP DOWN TO WOODBROOK.


  7. i must be blind. when i walk down the street i see lots of people! some ar etall some are short some have blond hair and black skin with purple eyes

    sorry! i thought we were all trinidadians?
    idians come from india, nigerian, zibabwean etc (countries in africa) come form their respective countries and japanese people were born to and grew up in japan (even a black person can be japanese) the problem here is not only racism by religous influence, but also a serious case of misscommunicaton between the people of trinidad and tobago. ‘indians’ (who aparently are from trinidad and not india)feel discriminated because of blah blh blah. and ‘africans’ (who apparntly are fom trinidad and not any country you can call in africa) feel discriminated because of blah blahblah. the topis of race in trinidad is so sensitive that bringing it up can be offensive, we seriously need to sit down and adress the issue. we need to realize that we are not afrocans or indians or chineese or martians (from mars) we are trinidadians.

    if the so called ”indians” were to go to india (not go back..you weren’t born there) they would not enjoy life ans they do in the western world. theres a reason your ancestors did not go back. you can figure that out.

    if the so called ”africans” were to go to africa () they would not like it in any way. ”africans” you were sold as slaves by your ancestors tribe leaders (in many cases) and the rest were captured. the people in would not accept you. you are westernized and are not of pure blood.

    basically what i’m trying to say is that the first problem we need to tackle in order to deal with the bigger problem of racism, we have to frist deal with the problem of missidentification. first we must ALL to not distinguish ourselves as ‘indian from trinidad’ or ”african” or ‘martian’,

    we are first residents of earth
    then we are humans
    then we are westerners
    then we are trinidadians
    then we are male and female
    then we are christians hindus muslims athiests scientologists
    then we are buisnessmen and scientists etc
    then we are mothers fathers sisters brothers uncles aunts cousins etc
    then we are rich poor middleclased
    and finally we are OF indian, african, chinese, mixed and no-one-knows-what descent (but not indian african chinese germanese volcanese as we are not from india africa china germany or an undersea volcanoes in the ring of fire (i hope))

    wow if race is really what people choose to see when i walk about our country, then bye bye trinidad! somewhere else here i come!

  8. CL, i respect what you are trying to say, and i agree that there is there is only one race on this planet, and therefore we are looking at “ethnic” groups in T&T and the world. That as it may, you have to understand the nature of what your saying.

    All of those countries that you mentioned, where different ethnic groupings are residing in other peoples countries, are in a state of “class” warfare. By that i mean, especially in the case of Indians, and now to a lesser extent some Chinese, as merchants they have been exploiting the economies of the “host” nations much to the dislike of the indigenous people. This is cause for the discontent in some of those countries.

    But there is a historical reason for that. This is what the fanatic fundamentalist and your self have to understand. The British created this problem. I’t is called “divide and conquer” or “Buffer creation” where by upon the political awakening of an oppressed majority, the enemy imports then promotes “others” to be a “zone” between the oppressed and their freedom.

    They have mastered this, Indonesia is currently doing it (with covert support and training from Britain and America), in the land they occupy by force called West Pau Pau New Guinea where the asian minority apart from murdering the indigenous New Guinean’s everyday, are currently importing shiploads of asian Indonesians who have become the new merchant class and are “given” land upon arrival to develop in the prime areas of West Pau Pau!

    Do you not think that the West Pau Pauans have a right to be vex and do what ever is necessary to defend themselves from genocide?
    And if they do become a minority in say 10 years from now as a result of the genocide do you think they should forget that the land belongs to them!

    To understand what i am saying you only have to go to Santa Rosa and talk to the Carib population and find out how they really feel about others controlling “their” land and economy without any input or leadership from them.

    You must know your past in order to best understand how to not repeat the mistakes of that past.

    It is a scientifically established fact that the globe is populated by a people/race that emigrated out of the nort/east region of continent called Africa. So to stop this “miss-identification” as you put it, people would have to accept this as the fact that it is and be comfortable with it as they are with thinking there are everything else but who they really are. Especially in mixed up T&T!

    It is also a fact that at this stage in human development people are identified by the continent of their ancestors. Thus Africans, Europeans, Indains, Chinese, Syrians etc etc.

    Sadly because of Imperialism, which today, is in it’s final stage called Globalism. Every country that you mentioned, that one can’t “go back to” has been westernized!

    You will be suprised to know that most of the major regions of Africa and India are just as, and to a larger extent even more “developed” that Trinidad. And you may be the one viewed as not being westernized enough comming from your “little” island.
    Stop Watching the world hunger and Discovery channel propaganda and do some “real” browsing online and view the images that you are being denied. Or travel when you can, Inform you self before it is to late.

    Because “all” people have a history. The history of the people Trinidad and Tobago is not without exception. And because the people of T&T are such a culturally rich people you have to admire, and respect the contributions of all.

    I think that most would agree that instead of trying to be all of those things that you mentioned we should be, and they are a lot! Given the history of mankind it is only logical to be who we are today ethnically/culturally speaking. When humanity evolves beyond that we will all do it, but that is a long way off my friend.

    The problem is the using of religion to “camouflage” hate and economical/political dominance. That is the issue that is coming to the fore in T&T, Where a minority segment of fundamentalist fanatics are trying to destroy a nation for their own selfish self interest and greed. Coupled with that you have a corrupt government, opposition, and elite who could not care less about the nations poor “majority”, African or Indian, hence the reason why they are promoting “free” trade, drugs, guns, prostitution, gambling and crime instead of the desperately needed social restructuring of T&T to the detriment of the nations youth. Who are being blamed for falling into the trap that they set for them. Thus giving the fanatics the excuse to lead their attack.
    I hope you see where i am coming from THE MAJORITY IN T&T ARE THE POOR, NOT “INDIAN” OR “AFRICAN”, THEY ARE THE POOR!

    But we must never forget that this example was fostered by the British and US government who trained and armed and promoted religious fanatics in India, Pakistan, Africa etc etc, creating the distortions we have today in T&T and the globe.

    We are in danger of becoming like occupied Palestine (Israel)
    Where the same experiment of “Buffer Creation” was perfected
    in which Britain promised to give the owners of the land self rule, and then turned around and created a process of the importation of Zionist form all over the globe to divide the palestinians and turn them into a minority then call the place Israel. With fanatical claims of “Moses promising the land to them”
    I wonder, wether Moses was British or American?

    Be careful T&T

    One T&T
    One Caribbean.

  9. After reading these posts it amazes me that a lot of people equate wealth with racial superiority. The arguments are either “Indians” or “Africans” have the majority of the wealth so therefore they should not feel discriminated against. Hatered is a funny thing it knows no social or economic class.
    I have been around some highly educated and wealthy people (whites, blacks, asians,and indians), who when they speak of other cultures and races, utter some of the most vile and disgusting things. It make one wonder from under what rock did they crawl. To be so ignorant of the world.
    I have also known educated and wealthy people who have suffered discrimination and racism. There money did not protect them against this hatered.
    As you see the idea that “wealth makes you white” therefore you are immune to racism or being racist is nonsense and by itself is a racist idea. If you are capable of hate you are capable of being a racist. And power and wealth will not make you immune from it. Its not what you have but how you treat the other person. That is what makes you a human being. Only by freeing you mind and embracing other cultures and people will you truly be free on the religion of racism.

  10. I am appalled by the comments made by the HAF. They certainly have an agenda. All they have managed to do is bring into disbelief and disrepute similar reports of injustice around the world. And as for stating that Hindus are targets of vicious crime!! This is an insult to all those of other races who have been, and continue to be victims of crime. Unfortunately some Racist Organizations pretending to speak on behalf of all persons of Indian descent have sprung up in Trinidad and now it seems that they have found favour with the HAF, who, have produced this ludicrous report without doing the kind of research that is necessary. Get a life and focus on countries where real problems exist. It seems clear that your intent is to start an issue, where none or very little exists.

  11. Trinidad has the illconceived notion that things are
    better there than elsewhere. “ALL AH WE IS ONE”. In
    societies where there is a single ethnicity as in Ireland, there is enmity between the north and south.
    People of former Yugoslavia are now split up into several groups with bitter hatred between them. In
    Trinidad, Indians who are of an entirely different
    race from the Africans are considered racist if they
    speak their own language, which was one of the
    earliest written languages, wear their own style of
    dress, again going back centuries, and cooking food
    with spices which Columbus sought to find by going
    west across the Atlantic ocean,and thought that he
    had reached India, hence naming the people that he met “indians”.
    Perhaps someone can reply with some of the history
    of African cicilization and culture. Please help me.
    Raul Hernandez

    1. Raul, how did you get to this web site… Did you not take time to look at Trinicenter welcome page… There is a lot of info on Africa and it glorious past here…

      But Ah have something for your ego..

      Condoms ‘too big’ for Indian men
      By Damian Grammaticus
      BBC News, Delhi
      A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.
      The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.

      It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.

      Now what did the stranger say to Dick Cheney?

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