Hindus in Pakistan’s Sindh province are protesting the sale of shoes inscribed with sacred religious symbol ‘Om’ and described the actions of shopkeepers selling them as “unfortunate” and “blasphemous”.
The patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, said that they have lodged protests with the Sindh government and local authorities in Tando Adam Khan after the sale of such shoes was brought to the notice of his community.
“Since the last three years on the occasion of Muslim Eid festival, some shopkeepers in Tando Adam are offering shoes on which Hindu religious holy name ‘Om’ is displayed. Its purpose is just to insult the sentiments of local Hindus,” Vankwani said on Sunday.
He added the sale of such shoes was an insult to the Hindus in Pakistan as it is blasphemous to use the sacred word ‘Om’ on shoes.
“The pictures of these shoes have been circulated on the social media by concerned members of the Hindu community and we demand they be removed from the shops immediately,” Vankwani said.
Pakistan Hindu Seva, a group working for religious harmony in Pakistan, alleged that Zeb Shoes, owned by Farman Ahmed in Tando Jam, is selling the sandals and must be barred from doing so as it is “hurting the sentiments” of the community and “spreading hatred”.
It also urged the locals of Tando Adam to address the issue by remaining “within the jurisdiction of law to avoid any violence”.
“As ‘Om’ is the sacred religious symbol of Hinduism which talks about the oneness of God, let’s protect this oneness peacefully for the progressive and positive face of Pakistan. Let’s appeal the authorities concerned to take notice of the matter immediately to override any expected mistrust within the locals,” a statement released by the group said.
Local Sindhi newspapers have also reported that similar shoes are being sold in some other places of Sindh.
Earlier this month, a Hindu man over 80 years was brutally assaulted by a police constable for selling food before iftar, the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset in the remote village of Hayat Pitafi in Sindh’s Ghotki district.
Reports say there are around eight million Hindus in the country with a population of 180 million people. Most of the Pakistani Hindus reside in the southern province of Sindh.