Sify News - Hindus have described call of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for solidarity towards Roma (Gypsies) "a step in the right direction".
In his Sunday appearance in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Benedict reportedly issued an appeal for more solidarity towards Roma people in the presence of parents of Roma children who were killed in blaze in Rome while asleep on Monday.
Notable Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, while commending Pope's Roma solidarity appeal, asked him to embrace the Roma cause more openly and strongly as 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 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. Pope should act like a shepherd to shepherd-less flock of Roma as Jesus Himself said that he had sheep from other pastures. Pope should recognize, acknowledge and affirm the Roma as children of God who deserved to be treated like all other people-as equals. As the Vicar of Christ, Pope should offer them protection, compassion, and love. In case of Roma, Pope should act as God wanted him to act, which was distinctly defined in The Bible.
Rajan Zed stressed that it was a sin to silently watch about 15-million European Roma suffer day after day for the last about 1200 years and not do anything about it. 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.
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. (ANI)