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Hindus want withdrawal of Roma-stereotyping Czech police coloring book

Czech Police (Policie České Republiky) officer...

Czech Police (Policie České Republiky) officer in Český Těšín (Czeski Cieszyn) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Hindus want immediate withdrawal of Czech Police coloring book POLDOVY OMALOVANKY, reportedly meant for distribution in kindergartens and primary schools.

Rajan Zed, based in Nevada (USA), said that it apparently stereotyped Roma, indicating them as criminals. Racial stereotyping should not be acceptable in 21st century Czech Republic and the world, Zed stressed.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Czech Republic Interior Minister Milan Chovanec to look into the matter, withdraw all of these coloring books and mandate diversity training for all employees of the department to put an end to all such racial stereotyping, prejudices and caricaturing in the future; which was highly irresponsible.

Zed pointed out that such negative depiction of the Roma community would send wrong signals to the children’s minds at an impressionable age, who would be the leaders of Czech Republic tomorrow. In the future, the Interior Ministry should pre-screen and monitor all such material before it went for public distribution to make sure that Roma minority was not stereotyped, Zed added.

Moreover, police are meant for fighting against the stereotypes and not strengthening them, Zed noted.

Zed argued that Roma people in Czech Republic reportedly faced violent attacks, stereotyping, racism, prejudice, growing gap between Roma and other Czechs, fear, beatings, poor quality housing, systemic employment and overall discrimination, persecution, throwing of Molotov cocktails, social exclusion, segregated schools, marginalization; refused service at restaurants, stores, discos, etc.; municipalities/towns failing to support them; and the state being unwilling or unable to offer protection.

Zed further said that the country of Franz Kafka, Antonin Dvorak, Jaroslav Hasek, and rich cultural heritage should not continue staying apathetic and silent spectator ignoring Roma apartheid. Milos Zeman and Bohuslav Sobotka are President and Prime Minister respectively of Czech Republic.


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Hindus concerned for Gypsies’ safety after new Czech Republic study

A Romany old woman from the Czech Republic

A Romany old woman from the Czech Republic by Zdenek Bobek via Wikipedia

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Hindus are concerned at the recent Czech Republic Interior Ministry study reportedly suggesting prevalent racism in the country and possibilities of attacks against Roma (Gypsies) in the future.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Czech Republic government should take this report seriously and ensure safety of its Roma populace, who were facing apartheid like conditions. Czech Republic needed better protection system for Roma.

If Czech Republic was unable or unwilling to ensure the safety and security of its Roma people, then European Union should urgently intervene, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, added.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Roma people in Czech Republic reportedly had faced violent attacks, stereotyping, racism, prejudice, growing gap between Roma and other Czechs, fear, beatings, poor quality housing, systemic employment and overall discrimination, persecution, throwing of Molotov cocktails, social exclusion, segregated schools, forced sterilization,  marginalization; refused service at restaurants, stores, discos, etc.; municipalities/towns failing to support them; and the state being unwilling or unable to offer protection.

Zed further said that Czech religious leaders and religious groups, especially the majority Roman Catholic Church, should take-up the cause of Roma people and raise the issue of their continuous maltreatment; as religion taught us to plead for the oppressed, stand with the poor, and seek justice for those whom God loved and too often the world overlooked.

Rajan Zed hoped that the country of Franz Kafka, Antonin Dvorak, Jaroslav Hasek, Karlovy Vary, and rich cultural heritage would not continue staying apathetic and silent spectator ignoring Roma apartheid and would come to their rescue. Vaclav Klaus, Petr Necas and Jan Kubice are President, Prime Minister and Interior Minister respectively of Czech Republic.

References to Roma people in Europe, who are believed to have their roots in the Indian subcontinent, reportedly went as far back as ninth century CE.


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Hindus condemn dismantling of Gypsy camp in Rome

A Romany old woman from the Czech Republic

Image via Wikipedia

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Hindus condemn dismantling of Gypsy camp in Rome

Hindus have strongly criticized the reported dismantling of a Gypsy (Roma) camp in Rome forcing families homeless and some taking refuge in an ancient basilica.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was barbaric to dismantle Roma settlement without providing them alternate accommodation.

Terming it as “misplaced attitude of Italian authorities towards Roma population”, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Italy should come out with long-term solutions on Roma issue. Crackdowns, forcible evacuations and frequent dismantling of Roma campsites without offering proper alternatives was simply inhuman and a dark stain on Italy and Europe and did not solve anything. Italy should show responsibility and arrange housing for all Roma where they could live their lives with dignity. About 150,000 Roma reportedly live in Italy, with about 100 camps in Rome alone.

Rajan Zed further said that religion clearly told us to help the helpless, defenseless and downtrodden and love them, but His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who lived in the heart of Europe and only few miles away from this dismantled campsite, had hardly ever come out with a strong statement supporting the Roma cause. Pope, being the claimed representative of God on earth, should voice against continuous Roma maltreatment and thus act as God wanted him to act.

Zed argued that Roma maltreatment in Europe was like an undeclared apartheid. Roma reportedly regularly faced 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.

Rajan Zed also criticized the management of ancient Roman Catholic basilica St. Paul’s Outside-the-Walls for reportedly not letting back in the Roma who had gone outside for work and securing food. Basilica should shelter the displaced Roma till City provided them with alternative accommodation. Bible said: “…let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them from the destroyer… (Isaiah 16:4).”

In February, three brothers and a sister, aged 4-11 years, perished while asleep when fire swept through their shack, while adults were out running errands in a Roma settlement in Rome outskirts, according to reports.


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Arbitrary surveillance of Roma in Europe

A Romany old woman from the Czech Republic

A Romany old woman from the Czech Republic via Wikipedia

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A newly published study on Roma (Gypsies) of Europe has expressed concern at the “arbitrary surveillance of Romani migrants and the violation of the related right to privacy”.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, reacting to this Study, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that the world and Europe should urgently act to end the apartheid of Roma people of Europe as it was a social blight for Europe in particular and humanity in general.

Funded by Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe High Commissioner on National Minorities and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the study titled “Recent Migration of Roma in Europe” also states: “EU (European Union) member States have also on repeated occasions expelled Roma from other EU member States. Highly publicized expulsions of Roma have been recently carried out by France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Sweden”.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commented that Roma in Europe reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.

This Study further points out: “The ability of Roma to access goods and services is limited throughout Europe by factors including lack of educational qualifications among significant segments of the Romani communities, as well as by ethnic or racial discrimination, driven in particular by anti-Gypsyism — that is, a widespread, deeply rooted prejudice and intolerance directed against Roma in Europe.”

The Study adds: “Authorities in some countries have apparently developed practices stopping short of deportation from the country, but which aim at making the lives of the Roma concerned miserable, in the hope that they may leave on their own. In Italy, for example, the authorities have regularly engaged in forced eviction of Romani migrants from their homes, frequently in contravention of international law, as well as involving the destruction of property. In some cases, whole Romani settlements have been summarily destroyed, and the inhabitants simply left on the street.”

Other issues of concern expressed by this Study relating to the response of public authorities to Roma migration include: ethnic profiling by police and not ensuring basic protection of the security of persons.

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Hindus & Jews critical of “Gypsy criminals” election advertisement in Hungary

Human Right

Image by riacale via Flickr

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Hindus and Jews have strongly criticized an election advertisement in Hungary reportedly referring to “Gypsy criminals”.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA, in a joint statement in Nevada today, said that it was clearly offensive and stigmatized an entire ethnic community.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich, further said that European Union should urgently intervene and stop the further harassment and maltreatment of Roma (Gypsies) who were already facing apartheid conditions in Hungary and other parts of Europe.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich argued that in Hungary, despite various government initiatives, Roma reportedly continued to face blatant discrimination, shanty town living, an atmosphere of hostility, huge unemployment rate, lower life expectancy, prejudice, significantly higher school dropout rate, racism, bias and stereotyping, school segregation, social exclusion, mistrust, human rights violations, etc. According to an estimate, less than 1% of Roma obtained higher education degrees.

Zed and Freirich pointed out that instead of reportedly continuing to marginalize Roma socially, this country of Lake Balaton, romantic Danube River, Franz Liszt and Bela Bartok, should be more embracing of Roma brothers and sisters who had been reportedly living with them since 14th century. Hungarian government should be more proactive in protecting Roma and other minorities. Rajan Zed and Rabbi Freirich urged religious leaders, religions and denominations of Hungary to work for the upliftment of Roma, because religion told us to help the helpless.

Roma in Hungary, whose estimated numbers sometimes reach around one million, form about ten percent of total Hungary populace, which makes it largest Roma minority as percentage of total population in the world. Current demographic trends indicate that in 2050, about 21 percentage of Hungary population will be Roma.

Hungary is reportedly holding municipal elections on Sunday.

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Hindus ask financial compensation for Czech Roma women victims of forced sterilization

Gypsy Guitarist

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Welcoming Czech Prime Minister’s “regret” over involuntary sterilization of Roma women, Hindus have demanded fair and adequate financial compensation to the victims.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer should offer formal “apology” as the misconduct in this case was very serious and just “regret” would not be sufficient to heal the deep wounds caused. Perpetrators should be prosecuted for the irreversible crimes against these women which permanently deprived them from having children.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that neighboring Slovakia also now needed to acknowledge this blunder and apologize on this issue. Czech Republic should make Roma upliftment her first priority as they were facing apartheid like conditions. Their maltreatment was a dark stain on the face of Czech Republic and Europe.

Rajan Zed argued that Roma people in Czech Republic reportedly faced violent attacks, stereotyping, racism, prejudice, growing gap between Roma and other Czechs, fear, beatings, poor quality housing, systemic employment and overall discrimination, persecution, throwing of Molotov cocktails, social exclusion, segregated schools, marginalization; refused service at restaurants, stores, discos, etc.; municipalities/towns failing to support them; and the state being unwilling or unable to offer protection.

Zed stressed that the country of Franz Kafka, Antonin Dvorak, Jaroslav Hasek, Karlovy Vary, and rich cultural heritage should not continue staying apathetic and silent spectator ignoring Roma apartheid.

References to Roma people in Europe, who are believed to have their roots in the Indian subcontinent, reportedly went as far back as ninth century AD.


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Hindus & Jews demand probe into excessive exclusion of Roma children from England schools

Romani Mother and Child by Planet Love / Venus

Romani Mother and Child by Planet Love / Venus

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Hindus and Jews have demanded a thorough probe into the extraordinarily high rate of permanent exclusion of Roma/Gypsy children from England schools, which is about five times as compared to percentage of all excluded children.

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement in Nevada today, said that this preposterous exclusion rate was outrageous and unacceptable and needed to be urgently addressed.

Zed and Freirich argued that Roma already faced apartheid conditions in English society and now even their children were not spared from the maltreatment. Instead of working on Roma children to bring them to the mainstream, England schools seemed to have adopted an easier way out—just exclude them.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich pointed out that despite the potential under-reporting for this ethnic classification, the percentage of exclusions was outlandishly high. This scenario of apparent isolation and discrimination needed to be immediately addressed and England school system needed to create more awareness and celebration of Roma culture and make curriculum inclusive of mobile homes also.

According to latest available figures Issued by England Department for Children, Schools and Families; permanent exclusions from primary, secondary and special schools have dropped to 0.11 per cent of the number of pupils in schools, while for Roma/Gypsy children, this rate was 0.56 per cent.


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Hindus & Jews express solidarity with Madonna, who was booed for backing European Roma cause

Photo credit: comicbase / Jeroen Mirck

Photo credit: comicbase / Jeroen Mirck

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Hindus and Jews have come out in support of entertainer Madonna who was reportedly booed and jeered by thousands of fans in Romania Wednesday night when she sympathized with Roma people, who they say face apartheid in Europe.

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a statement in Nevada today, said that Romania and Europe should apologize for blatant show of prejudice shown towards fellow Roma brothers/sisters when Madonna spoke against Roma discrimination during her concert in Bucharest.

Zed and Freirich pointed out that alarming condition of Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.

It was like an undeclared apartheid and it was almost total societal exclusion of Roma. The maltreatment of Roma was outside even the European Union norms. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Europe and world, Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Jonathan Freirich argued. According to a recent report of European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, one in two Roma considered that they had been discriminated against, at least once, in the previous 12 months.

Hindu and Jewish leaders have urged other Hollywood and entertainment celebrities of the world not to stay apathetic and silent spectators and use their status to highlight the apartheid conditions faced by about 15-million Roma people of Europe. Many Hollywood and other entertainment bigwigs had successfully worked against South Africa’s apartheid in the past.

Cheers reportedly gave way to jeers, when Madonna paused midway before a sell-out crowd of about 60,000 in Bucharest during her song La Isla Bonita in her about two-hour concert, part of her worldwide “Sticky and Sweet” tour,  and touched on the plight of Roma people, showing the deeply entrenched prejudice against Roma in Europe. She reportedly continues with concerts in Sofia and Tel Aviv during the coming days.

Rajan Zed and Rabbi Freirich further said that references to Roma people in Europe reportedly went as far back as ninth century AD. How many more centuries Roma had to reside in Europe to prove that they were “real and equal” Europeans like any other, they asked.

Golden Globe winner Madonna (Evita) is a singer-actress-dancer- songwriter- record producer- film director & producer-author-entrepreneur- fashion designer-etc., and Rolling Stone described her as “one of the greatest pop acts of all time”. Roma are believed to have their roots in the Indian subcontinent.


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Hindus seek European Union intervention in Czech Republic & Hungary to protect Roma

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history of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc

history of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc

Hindus are asking for immediate intervention of European Union (EU) in Czech Republic and Hungary to protect the Roma minorities in view of recent reported incidents of violence.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged EU and countries of Europe to urgently take steps to end apartheid of their Roma people, terming it as immoral and a dark stain on the face of Europe.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was moral obligation of Europe to take care of its largest minority Roma population and stop human rights violations reportedly regularly suffered by them, who numbered around ten million and were the most disadvantaged.

Rajan Zed further said that references to Roma people in Europe reportedly went as far back as ninth century AD and asked, “How many more centuries Roma have to reside in Europe to prove that they are ‘real and equal’ Europeans like any other.”

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of Council of Europe, in his Viewpoint published on April 27 on Council website, said, “Anti-Gypsyism continues to be a major human rights problem in Europe – governments must start taking serious action against both official and inter-personal discrimination of Roma”.

He cited incidents where Roma children were forced to strip and violently slap one another in a Slovakia police station, sudden eviction of Roma families in Belgrade without alternative accommodation, etc. He asks in the Viewpoint, “Would this have happened to non-Roma?”

A joint statement recently released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, said

Our organisations are deeply concerned by the continuing discriminatory treatment and exclusion of the Roma, and particularly by the recent escalation in hate motivated incidents and racist rhetoric reported in a number of States.

Their alarming condition is a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly face social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, unusually high unemployment rates, etc., Zed argues.

poverty of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc

poverty of the Roma people in the Czech Republic by superk8 nyc


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Hindus seek UN intervention as European Roma face apartheid like conditions

Romani Mother and Child by Planet Love / Venus

Romani Mother and Child by Planet Love / Venus

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As European Union (EU) and countries of Europe reportedly seemed to lack strong political will to improve the plight of Roma people who were living in apartheid like conditions, United Nations (UN) should immediately intervene, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, stated in Nevada (USA) today.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that Roma had reportedly suffered maltreatment from centuries in Europe and still continued to face social exclusion and it was apparent in the recently issued Human Rights Report by United States Department of State. According to this Report,  “In a number of countries, including Italy and Hungary, members of the Roma community were targets of societal violence, which in some cases was more frequent and lethal than in previous years.”

This Report says that Albania “did not fund its National Roma Strategy”; in Austria “Roma faced discrimination in employment and housing”; in Belarus “Roma were often denied access to higher education”; in Bosnia and Herzegovina “mainstream society often excluded many Roma from public life”; in Bulgaria “police harassed, arbitrarily arrested, and used violence against Roma”; in Croatia “societal violence, harassment, and discrimination against Roma continued to be a problem”; in Czech Republic “restaurants, bars, and other public places at times refused to serve Roma”; in Estonia “Roma faced discrimination in employment and other areas”.

It further says that in Finland, “discrimination against the approximately 10,000 Roma extended to all areas of life, resulting in their de facto exclusion from society”; in France “Roma faced discrimination in education, housing, and access to government services”; in Greece “Roma continued to face widespread governmental and societal discrimination, including systematic police abuse”; in Hungary “Roma continued to experience widespread discrimination in employment, education, housing, penal institutions, and access to public places”;  in Ireland “Travellers faced societal discrimination and were regularly denied access to premises, goods, facilities, and services”; in Italy  “Roma live in camps characterized by poor housing, unhygienic sanitary conditions, limited employment prospects, inadequate educational facilities, and inconsistent police presence”.

In Kosovo “official and societal discrimination persisted against …Roma”; in Latvia “government acknowledged that the Romani community faced high levels of unemployment and illiteracy, as well as widespread societal discrimination”; in Lithuania “societal hostility toward Roma continued”; in Moldova “Roma suffered violence, harassment, and discrimination”; in Montenegro, “Prejudice against Roma…was widespread, and local authorities often ignored or tacitly condoned their intimidation or mistreatment”; in Poland, there was “widespread discrimination in employment, housing, banking, the justice system, the media, and education”; in Romania “Romani groups complained that police brutality, including beatings and harassment, was routine”; in Russia  “authorities in Chudovo, Novgorod Oblast, demolished the homes of several members of the local Romani community”; in Serbia “Roma were targets of verbal and physical harassment from ordinary citizens, police violence, and societal discrimination”; in Slovak Republic “Roma were particularly singled out for violence”; in Slovenia “Roma continue to suffer prejudice and discrimination, in particular with access to health services, education, and employment”; in Spain “Roma…still faced particular difficulties and discrimination in their access to employment, housing and social services and, reportedly, in the treatment they received within the criminal justice system”; in Turkey “law states that ‘nomadic Gypsies’ are among the four categories of persons not admissible as immigrants”; in Ukraine “representatives of Romani and other minority groups claimed that police officials routinely ignored, and sometimes abetted, violence against them”.

Rajan Zed asked how Europe, which prided itself for its human rights record, was tolerating such widespread prejudice against a segment of its own society. Maltreatment of Roma was simply immoral and a dark stain on the face of Europe. EU should offer “formal apology” for centuries and generations of maltreatment of the Roma, Zed added.

Zed called on all world religions, denominations and religious leaders to show strong will, courage, and commitment in support of Roma cause as they should not stay apathetic to societal truths by remaining silent spectators to the plight of Roma people of Europe. He stressed that it was not moral to remain unconcerned when fellow human beings were facing blatant injustice and discrimination right under our nose in Europe.

Rajan Zed further said that references to Roma people in Europe, who numbered around ten million, reportedly went as far back as ninth century AD. How many more centuries Roma had to reside in Europe to prove that they were “real and equal” Europeans like any other, Zed asked.

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