Hindus critical of Slovakia turning Roma into a tourist attraction
21/10/2011 – Hindus have strongly criticized the reported proposal of turning Roma (Gypsy) settlement in a Slovakia town into a tourist destination.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Roma colony was not a zoo or museum and in reality was a group of homes where Roma raised their families and were entitled to their privacy like all other Slovakians.
According to reports, Mayor of Veľká Lomnica, one of the gateways to the High Tatra Mountains, has come up with this idea of bringing tourists visiting the area to the Roma settlement, which is said to be one of the poorest in the region. Mayor reportedly wants tourists be allowed to look inside the Roma houses and seeks to launch this plan in the coming summer. About 40 percent population of the town is said to be Roma.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that it was simply immoral, inappropriate and unacceptable. Town was attempting to manipulate the misery of Roma for mercantile greed and in the process making an entire community a laughing stock.
Rajan Zed further said that Mayor should be focusing his energies on solving the problems of the Roma residents and not making plans to showcase their poverty for selfish purposes.
Roma maltreatment incidents have been frequently popping-up in Slovakia, like erection of a wall in Ostrovany to segregate Roma, reported continual segregation of Roma children in Slovakia schools, involuntary sterilization of Roma women in the past, etc.
Slovakia and Europe needed to improve the conditions of Roma who lived in medieval squalor in mud houses without running water, gas and sewage in 21st century. Was this a part of the vision of post-Berlin Wall European Union, Zed asked.
Rajan Zed pointed out that it was appalling to see how inhumanely Europe was treating its about 15 million Roma brothers-sisters. It was clearly reprehensible, hazardous and immoral and a brazen failure of Europe to meet its international obligations. When it came to Roma, Europe frequently failed to implement its own laws distinctly mentioned in its own books.
Rajan Zed stated that apartheid conditions faced by 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.
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. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Europe and world, thus reversing the history of persecution, Zed stressed.
Rajan Zed said that “Tatra Tiger”, one of the fastest growing economies and country of Juraj Jánošík, Slovakia should not continue staying apathetic and silent spectator ignoring Roma apartheid. It was moral obligation of Slovakia to take care of its most disadvantaged Roma population and stop human rights violations reportedly suffered by them. There are reportedly about 350,000 Roma in Slovakia. Ivan Gasparovic is President and Iveta Radicova is Prime Minister of Slovakia.
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.