Hindus want apology from French President Hollande on burial denial to Roma babyHindus are urging France President Francois Hollande to issue an official apology over refusal of burial space to a few months old Roma (Gypsy) infant by Mayor of Champlan, 14 miles south of Paris.Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that everybody had a fundamental right of a decent burial. Champlan Mayor denying burial space to a child simply because she was Roma was a blatant case of racism and simply inhuman and should not be acceptable in the 21st century Europe.Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that France and Europe should be ashamed of this act of xenophobia and continued apartheid conditions faced by Roma people. European Union (EU) needed to come out of glass houses in Brussels, show some responsibility and save the about 15-million Roma people of Europe from continued abuse. How long the EU would keep on looking the other way while the Roma continued to face maltreatment day after day, Zed asked.Rajan Zed urged His Holiness Pope Francis and religious leaders of France to raise their voice against Roma apartheid as religion told us to help the helpless. Their silence on this issue was very puzzling and ungodly, Zed noted.Moreover, dismantling of Roma camps without providing adequate accommodation and forced evictions of Roma people from France should immediately end; and France should make honest efforts for social inclusion and rehabilitation of voiceless Roma communities, who had been around in Europe since ninth century CE, Zed stressed.Europe’s most persecuted and discriminated community, Roma reportedly regularly encountered social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, etc., Rajan Zed indicated.

A Roma baby girl who died Dec. 26 in Champlan, a suburb south of Paris, has been denied burial there by the town’s mayor, the BBC reported. The child, who reportedly died of sudden infant death syndrome, lived with her family in a camp in Champlan. She was 3 months old.

Le Parisien reported Champlan Mayor Christian Leclerc denied the baby burial in the local municipal cemetery because it had “few available plots,” Al Jazeera reported. “Priority is given to those who pay local taxes,” Leclerc told Le Parisien, saying spaces are very expensive.

Richard Trinquier, the mayor of nearby town of Wissous, offered a burial plot for the infant and called Champlan’s decision “incomprehensible.” He said he did not want to worsen the family’s grief. “The pain of a mother who carried a child for nine months, and lost her after 2 1/2months must not be worsened,” he told AFP.

Critics are calling the action by Champlan’s mayor racist. “It’s racism, xenophobia and stigmatization,” said Loic Gandais, the president of a group that helps Roma families in France.

Parents of the baby, known only as Maria Francesca, are originally from Romania and have lived in France for at least eight years. They, along with other Roma families in Champlan, live on two plots of land that lack running water and electricity.

There are about 20,000 members of the Roma minority living in makeshift settlements in France where they face poverty and persecution. The BBC said the country has instituted harsh policies against Eastern European immigrants, such as demolishing their camps and deportation.

The news comes just after French President Francois Hollande’s New Year’s Eve speech in which he vowed to fight racism. “I am making the fight against racism a national priority,” he said Wednesday.

Francesca, une petite rom de deux mois et demi, est morte à la gare Lille-Flandres

VIDEO. Essonne : l’enterrement d’un bébé Rom refusé à Champlan


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