Hindus want Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Pope Benedict to visit the grieving Roma (Gypsy) family, whose four children were burnt alive on February six in Rome outskirts, and offer them support.
Three brothers and a sister, aged 4-11 years, perished while asleep when fire swept through their shack, while adults were out running errands on the night of February six in a Roma settlement, according to reports.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, blamed these deaths of four Roma children on the 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.
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 campsite where fire happened, 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 asked Italy to pay adequate compensation to the family, who lost four children and who had been reportedly forcibly evacuated 30 times in 10 years, and provide them with a house. Italy should show responsibility and arrange housing for all Roma where they could live their lives with dignity.
It was reportedly the second lethal fire in a Roma campsite in five months in the city. About 150,000 Roma live in Italy, with about 100 camps in Rome alone.
Rajan 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.