According to a press report the group of 171 Hindus including 32 women and children residing in Sindh who went to India recently for pilgrimage having decided not to return home, have appealed to the Indian government to accord them the refugee status. The spokesman of SLS a political party trying to help them in India said that on reaching Jodhpur they appeared absolutely shaken. They felt insecure because of the alarming rise in Islamic extremism in Pakistan. ‘We would rather prefer to die in India than go back to Pakistan the pilgrims said. Complaining about miserable condition of Hindus in Sindh one of them told a press correspondent that when his father died the local Muslims did not allow him to perform the last rites. Another one complained, ‘I was working as a laborer but could not feed my family because the employer did not pay us regularly. We were starving without enough food’. Taking notice of the reports that a sizeable number of Hindus are planning to take asylum in India, President Zardari formed a parliamentary committee to investigate the persecution of Hindus. In its initial report the panel has confirmed the Hindus’ complaint that besides other reasons the abduction of Hindu girls and their forced conversion had caused resentment and a sense of insecurity in the minority community. It is highly shameful that in contravention of the Islamic principles and the constitution of Pakistan, we have failed to safeguard our minorities.RAFI NASIM, Lahore, September 15.