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Hindu political party registered in S Africa

Johannesburg: A Hindu political party, which aims to provide voice to the minority community in South Africa, has been registered with the country’s Electoral Commission.        The Hindu Unity Movement (HUM) strives to uplift the community members and provide them a voice in the government. Durban resident Jayraj Bachu is the new national leader of HUM while Hindu religious leader Ram Maharaj president of the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha, has been made the party’s national chairperson.

 Bachu said the party was established because the community had no voice in the provincial, national or local governments catering for the needs of Hindus.

 The decision was also taken after seeing political parties in government that were representing the Muslim and Christian communities, such as the Al Jama-ah Party, which secured its sole seat in Parliament for the first time in the 2019 General elections after 12 years of trying,

he said.

“Existing Hindu religious and cultural organisations are working from outside government to address the issues facing the community, but we need someone inside to get these issues addressed effectively,”

Bachu said.

 Bachu cited the reintroduction of Indian languages as subjects in government schools and declaring Diwali a public holiday in South Africa as being among the main issues that HUM would focus on as they prepared for the 2021 municipal elections.

“Christian festivals such as Easter and Christmas are public holidays, but for Diwali, Hindus have to apply to employers for leave because it is a normal working day. Similarly, schools have to request special permission to close for the day on Diwali to accommodate their Hindu students,” Bachu said.

“Our languages such as Tamil and Hindi are also dying and we can only work on this by being part of government,” Bachu added.

But analysts were sceptical about the possible success of the party, citing the failure of parties based on religious principles to implement effective change since the first democratic government came into power in 1994.

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