ROMA, ITALY – Hindus are disappointed by finding no mention to apartheid conditions faced by 15-million European Roma (Gypsies) in Pope Francis’s annual traditional speech to over 180 accredited diplomats at Vatican on January 13.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, stressed that as love and compassion for the helpless was the hallmark of religious ethics, Pope Francis needed to openly embrace Roma cause. Condition of Roma had most of the signs of “apartheid” and it was happening right under Pope’s nose in Europe.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that Pope should recognize, acknowledge and affirm the Roma as children of God who deserved to be treated like all other people—as equals. It was a sin to silently watch Roma suffer day after day for the last about 1200 years and not do anything about it, Zed added.
Rajan Zed noted that Jesus Christ clearly told the world to help the helpless, defenseless and downtrodden and love them and he showed the way also. Pope, being the claimed representative of God on earth, should voice against continuous Roma maltreatment. In case of Roma, Pope should act as God wanted him to act.
Zed further said 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.
Rajan Zed pointed out that besides the absence of any serious efforts at their inclusion, Roma were being used as “punch bag” and blamed for the social ills of Europe and many politicians even exploited segregation to their political advantage. European neglect was trapping Roma in cycles of persecution and poverty. It was very shocking, reprehensible, hazardous and immoral. Being the biggest religious leader in the world, it was Pope’s moral obligation to make efforts to stop frequent human rights violations suffered by Roma. Zed offered help to Pope, if asked, to support the Roma cause.