Selective logging reduces biodiversity, disrupts Amazon ecosystems: study

first_imgAmazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Hotspots, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, forest degradation, Forest Destruction, Forest Loss, Forestry, Forests, Global Environmental Crisis, Green, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Sustainable Forest Management, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation Article published by Glenn Scherer Reduced-impact logging, also called selective logging, which gained popularity in the 1990s, aims to balance biodiversity impacts with global demand for timber by extracting fewer trees. But the success of this approach is coming under increasing scrutiny.A new study in the Brazilian Amazon found that dung beetle communities, and their important role as “ecosystem engineers,” is severely disrupted by even low-level timber extraction, with sharp reductions in species richness.Multitudes of studies on birds, mammals, amphibians and invertebrates around the globe demonstrate the same finding: that even low-levels of timber extraction have significant impact on species diversity.This extensive research suggests that selective logging techniques should be shelved in favor of “land-sparing” timber extraction strategies, which create a patchwork of highly logged sites and intact forest reserves. Coprophanaeus lancifer, the largest crepuscular tunnelling dung beetle species found in the Amazon study region. Photographed in the Brazilian Amazon, 2016. Photo by Filipe FrançaReduced-impact-logging techniques are now used globally. This forestry approach, also called selective logging, aims to preserve biodiversity and maintain forest ecosystem functions while extracting commercially valuable timber. However, new research shows that even low-levels of timber extraction can have a detrimental effect on biodiversity that includes impacts on important ecosystem engineers such as dung beetles.Reduced-impact logging (RIL) became popular in the 1990s because it promised to provide timber without the ecologically devastating effects of clear-cutting. There are no published estimates of the global scale of RIL schemes, but a Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) report in 2015 found that more than 2.1 billion hectares (8.1 million square miles) of forest is under a forest management plan, and 438 million hectares (1.7 million square miles) are internationally certified.Meanwhile, evidence has been mounting over the last decade that selective logging may not be the win-win scenario it was once thought to be.Tree being logged by a worker within the Brazilian timber concession where the study was conducted. Photo by Filipe FrançaLow level logging impacts dung beetlesIn a study published online in Biological Conservation in October, an international research team compared the species richness of dung beetles and their effectiveness at removing dung, both before and after selective logging, at thirty-four sites in the Amazonian Jari Florestal logging concession in Pará, Brazil.Under a 30-year cutting cycle developed by the FAO, the Amazon sites experienced varying intensities of logging: from zero trees removed, up to nearly eight trees per hectare. The research team found that even very low-intensity timber removal had a significant impact on dung beetle populations. The removal of just 3 to 35 trees in a 10-hectare (25 acre) site resulted in 1 to 8 fewer species of dung beetle post-logging. Filipe França, an ecologist at Lancaster University who led the study, concludes that“Even low levels of timber removal can lead to the loss of forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.”The team found that dung beetle species richness decreased as logging intensity increased. Unexpectedly, this relationship was curved, with the steepest declines in dung beetle species occurring when the first few trees were removed. França suggests that the immediate effects of even low-intensity logging may occur because extraction techniques inadvertently damage neighboring trees and undergrowth, causing a disproportionate effect to the weight of timber removed.Pará is the second largest state in Brazil, and home to 25 percent of Brazil’s Amazon forest. It supports extraordinary levels of biodiversity, with nearly 10 percent of the world’s bird species found in these forests.As the largest timber-producing state in Brazil, Pará has also suffered severe deforestation with this state alone accounting for a third of the total forest lost in Brazil between 1998 and 2015.Earlier this year, Pará made headlines around the world after Brazil’s government announced plans to open the national reserve of Renca, which covers 4.6 million hectares (17,800 square miles) in Pará and the neighboring state of Amapá, to mining. The decree was later revoked after intense pressure from conservationists, but vast swathes of Amazon forest in Pará remain open to logging, and a 2006 report by the State Environment Agency identified 25 million hectares (96,500 square miles) of forest for potential timber extraction.França’s study suggests that even low-levels of logging in these forests could have a disastrous impact on dung beetle communities and the invaluable ecosystem services they provide.Diabroctis mimas is a large black and metallic-green dung beetle species found in the forests of Pará state. Photographed in the Brazilian Amazon, 2016. Photo by Filipe FrançaDung beetles: engineer of forest ecosystemsDung beetles might not be the most glamorous of the Amazonian insects, but they perform crucial ecosystem functions such as ploughing and aerating the soil, fertilizing plants with fresh dung, and helping to disperse seeds. Because of these roles, dung beetles are known as “ecosystem engineers.”Furthermore, changes in dung beetle communities are thought to be representative of changes to other taxonomic groups. “Most people I talk to about dung beetles think it is funny or strange that we use them in research for examining forest health. In fact, just a few people know that dung beetles are a key indicator group for the overall health of ecosystems,” says França. Beetle communities respond quickly to disturbance by logging, fire and road construction, and because they rely on the dung of other species, dung beetle communities also respond to other human activities such as hunting.Dung beetles show similar responses to forest disturbance as other taxonomic groups including ants, birds and plants. All experience greater species richness in primary forest than in logged sites and agricultural lands.In line with the recent Amazon dung beetle study, even minimal deforestation has been shown to significantly increase extinction risk in over 19,000 species of vertebrate worldwide. A 2014 study found that removing 38 cubic meters of timber per hectare halved the number of mammal species present and that logging intensity was the most important determinant of species richness in butterflies, dung beetles and ants.França’s new study has been criticized by some researchers for its small sample size and limited replication. “In my view this is a classic case of very broad generalizations being drawn from limited data,” says Andrew Davis, former senior scientist at the Danum Valley Field Centre in Sabah, Malaysia. Davis carried out one of the first investigations on the effects of logging on dung beetle communities in tropical rainforest. “They tell a nice story although based on a sample of less than 5,000 specimens with limited replication,” Davis says.Brazilian Amazon rainforest near the fieldwork site, state of Pará, July 2013. Photo by Filipe FrançaFrança defends the methodology, saying that the study compared a gradient of logging intensities before and after logging, rather than directly comparing logged and unlogged sites.Davis also points out that the Amazon study’s method for catching dung beetles – pitfall traps that beetles and other insects fall into and cannot escape – may have missed some species: “The authors are, by only using pitfalls, sampling a subsection of the dung beetle community.” He adds that traps that catch insects in flight tend to catch different species and in varying abundances.França counters, noting that “dung-baited pitfall traps are a standardized method for sampling dung beetles in ecological research elsewhere in the tropics, and is considered a most robust method.”Amazonian timber yard within the study area. Photo by Jos BarlowA matter of scaleForestry legislation in Brazil operates at the scale of 100 hectares (247 acres), which is also commonly used in studies assessing the impact of logging programs. However, França’s study shows that impacts on dung beetles are evident at much smaller scales, from 10 to 90 hectares. “Smaller spatial scales should be considered when monitoring the logging impacts on tropical biodiversity,” França states.Furthermore, França and his colleagues found that different effects of logging were evident at different scales; changes in beetle communities were best explained by logging intensity at the 10-hectare scale, but changes in dung removal rate were only detectable when considering logging intensity at the 90-hectare scale.“The ecological consequences from timber removal are highly dependent on the scale at which logging intensity is measured,” explains França. He admits that the cause of this pattern is still something of a mystery. “This is a good question for further research aimed at understanding whether biodiversity and ecosystem functioning respond similarly to human-induced forest disturbances at different spatial scales.”Coprophanaeus lancifer dung beetle species photographed in the Brazilian Amazon, 2012. Photo by Hannah M. GriffithsLand sparing or land sharing? Selective logging is an example of “land-sharing” timber extraction, where it is hoped that wildlife and the natural services they provide can be maintained alongside moderate levels of timber extraction. Instead, França’s study, and others that have found low thresholds for logging impacts in tropical forests, provide evidence in favor of “land-sparing” timber extraction strategies, which create a patchwork of highly logged sites and intact forest reserves.Several studies have found evidence for the unique importance of intact forests. Sparing unlogged forests avoids the rapid initial loss of species that occurs with selective logging and could help maintain higher levels of biodiversity, overall, by protecting vital ecosystem functions like decomposition and seed dispersal.“The shape of the relationships between logging intensity and dung beetle responses provide support for land-sparing logging as the most promising strategy for maximizing the conservation value of logging operations,” says França.Evidence from two decades of research increasingly suggests that selective logging may not be effective in preserving species biodiversity or the services that intact ecosystems provide. Forestry management, urge the researchers, should respond to the wealth of new evidence and consider the use of land-sparing models rather than selectively logging entire forests.Citation:França, F. M., Frazão, F. S., Korasaki, V., Louzada, J., & Barlow, J. (2017). Identifying thresholds of logging intensity on dung beetle communities to improve the sustainable management of Amazonian tropical forests. Biological Conservation, 216, 115-122.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Timber logs1_by FFrança: Amazonian logs gathered in a timber yard. New research shows that even low-levels of timber extraction, as carried out using selective logging, can have a detrimental effect on biodiversity. Photo by Filipe Françacenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Environmental defenders increasingly targeted, data shows

first_imgAround the world, 197 people were killed in 2017 for defending or protecting land.A partnership between The Guardian and international NGO Global Witness has been tracking and compiling data on the deaths of land defenders since 2002.Land defenders are often private individuals and activists protecting nature reserves, natural wealth, and stand up against those who harm the environment. Land defenders around the world are increasingly being targeted for murder, according to an annual data analysis by The Guardian and Global Witness. According to the 2017 data, released in February, 197 land defenders around the world were killed last year. They are described by the Guardian people who were “standing up to the governments and companies that steal their land and harm the environment, calling out the corrupt and unjust practices that enable it.”The data collection project started in 2002, and since then the number of land defenders killed every year has increased four-fold. “The situation remains critical,”  said Ben Leather, senior campaigner for Global Witness in a statement. “Until communities are genuinely included in decisions around the use of their land and natural resources, those who speak out will continue to face harassment, imprisonment and the threat of murder.”The most dangerous region for land and environment defenders is Latin America, a position it has long occupied. According to Global Witness, agribusiness interests are now most commonly linked to murders. In the past, the mining industry has been the worst offender. Agribusiness and mining alone are connected to over 60 percent of known cases with links to a source.National parks remained extremely deadly in 2017. There were 21 recorded deaths linked to poaching in national parks. Park rangers often clash with poachers in small-scale, but deadly conflicts inside national parks.  Brazil remains the deadliest place in the world for land defenders with 46 deaths, spurred on in part by conflicting interests in the Amazon. Colombia is a close second, though, with 32 deaths, with conflicts related to the power vacuum caused with the FARC peace deal. In Peru, a group of six farmers were murdered by a criminal group that wanted cheap land for palm oil-related profit.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Endangered Environmentalists, Environmental Activism, Environmental Crime, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing Article published by Genevieve Belmakercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

J&K policeman caught on camera snatching money from beggar, held

first_imgThe Jammu & Kashmir Police have arrested one of their own after he was allegedly caught on camera “snatching” money from a roadside beggar in Ramban district.A video clip purportedly showing head constable “snatching” money from the beggar a few days back went viral on social media, triggering shock and uproar.‘Bad habit’“Head constable Munawar Hussain has been suspended and arrested by the police after the incident,” Ramban Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohan Lal said.He said an FIR has also been registered against the policeman, who was attached with Ramban police line after being transferred from “Kishtwar due to his bad habit of chronic drinking”. Mr. Lal said Mr. Hussain came out of the police line and allegedly snatched money from the beggar. The officer said Hussain was caught by the policemen deployed there.More casesMr. Lal said three more cases are registered against Mr. Hussain in Kishtwar. “He was kept in the police line in Ramban after being transferred from Kishtwar due to his bad habit of chronic drinking. His ATM cards and others such items were given to his wife to operate in view of the his bad habits,” he said.last_img read more

Free to call ourselves Muslim in India, say minority Ahmadiyyas

first_imgTayyab Ali, 92, lies on a rusty cot in a large house with a courtyard full of plants. Clad in an off-white kurta, he peers intently through thick glasses as he says, “I moved here in 1946 to protect our heritage. I am still doing the same thing.”Tayyab Ali Bengali, as he likes to be called, had migrated from what is now Bangladesh. He was one of the 313 Ahmadiyyas who, at the time of the Partition, had chosen to stay back in Qadian in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district. It was here that the sect’s founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, had established a religious community in 1889. The Ahmadiyyas believe that their founder was the “promised messiah” of the Muslims, meant to propagate the teachings of Prophet Mohammad. But the majority Sunni Muslims believe the Prophet to be the last messiah. This fundamental difference in religious belief has meant that the Ahmadiyyas are a persecuted minority in every Islamic state.In Pakistan, where over 4 million Ahmadiyyas reside, an ordinance passed by the government in 1984 declared them as “non-Muslims”. It also made it a criminal offence for members of this community to practise Islam or claim to be Muslims.As for the Ahmadiyyas, they call themselves a “revival movement in Islam”, one that rejects “terrorism” and believes in the “jihad of the pen” as opposed to a “jihad of the sword”.Mr. Ali is proud to be a ‘Darvesh’, the title given to each of the 313 who chose to stay in India after the 1947 Partition, leaving their families in Pakistan. He recalls attending a few sermons given by Ahmadiyya leaders in 1945, after which he decided to join the sect. He moved to Qadian the following year.“My parents were Sunnis. They stopped me but I didn’t listen to them. After Partition, my father sent me a money order and asked me to come back. But I sent the money order back,” he says. He last travelled to see his family over 50 years ago, in what was then East Pakistan, but returned in four days. “The environment was hostile. My parents didn’t treat me well. I came back,” he recalls. In India, he says, he wakes up for fajr, the first of the five prayers through the day, rests, eats, and goes to watch kids play football in the evening.The only tough time, he recalls, was the year following Partition. “We lived like prisoners, with a bare minimum of food, for over a year. We couldn’t get out of Qadian. A year later, I started playing football and volleyball, and that became a reason for me to get out of Qadian sometimes for tournaments,” Mr. Ali says.India’s Ahmadiyya population is about 1.5 lakh, About 6,000 of them live in Qadian in a settlement spread across 1,500 acres. It has a residential colony, two mosques, State board-affiliated schools for both girls and boys, a religious college, a few manufacturing units, including a chapatti-making unit, playgrounds, community halls, and religious monuments.Self-sustaining communityModelled as a self-sustaining township of sorts, the community enjoys its own administration, known as the ‘Secretariat’, with separate departments for expenditure, construction, audit, general affairs, information technology, waseehat and jaidaat. All the department heads are appointed by the ‘Khalifa’, or fifth successor of the founder, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The Khalifa is based in London, which has now become the headquarters of the community.“Most of the money to run the community comes from donations by our members across the country. A significant part of it is generated by a system wherein those who pledge allegiance to the community donate 10% of their property and monthly salary to the administration,” says Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s (AMJ) spokesperson Tariq Ahmed. Many members of the community live in houses owned by the sect, pay a nominal rent, and work at the Secretariat.Nasir Waheed, who handles accounts at the Secretariat, says that he gets a salary of just ₹7,000 a month but is grateful for the peaceful life. “My children study in the community school where the fees are low. And because I work for the community, there are a lot of benefits,” he says, adding that his father was a Darvesh. “He worked for free in the initial years and started with a salary of ₹5”.Mr. Waheed’s wife, Swalehah Waheed (37), says the women are mostly occupied in religious programmes scheduled through the year. The entire settlement is divided into 13 sub-areas, each headed by a woman who is responsible for the ‘religious guidance’ of the women of her subdivision. “They give us books of our Khalifa to read and there are regular discussions around it. Every now and then, religious programmes are organised where women and minor girls share what they have read,” says Ms. Waheed, who has a master’s degree in political science from Panjab University.While there are many like Ms. Waheed, there are also women like Tahira Maqbool. Ms. Maqbool is now an Indian citizen but was a Pakistani until two years ago. The 34-year-old mother of three recalls life back “home” in Faisalabad and the pain of living there.‘Home’ truths “I was born in Faisalabad and stayed there till I got married in 2003. It’ll always be home because I’ve spent my childhood there. But in Pakistan we are treated worse than animals,” she says. Recalling an incident, she describes how her brother was once stopped on the street for particular reason, slapped around, and asked to change his faith.Tehmida (29), also a Pakistani born and brought up in Karachi, got married in India in 2013. She, too, has experienced persecution. “I was a bright student in college and my teachers loved me. But the day they came to know that I was an Ahmadiyya, their attitude towards me changed completely. They even asked me to leave the college. I said I’ll only leave if you make a formal complaint.”Unfortunately, for the married Pakistani women in Qadian, the ordeal doesn’t end even after they leave their home country. In India, life without citizenship is not easy either.“Sometimes, I feel like a prisoner because I have to renew my visa every year. I got married here and my four-year-old son is also an Indian. But I can’t leave Qadian. To travel out of this town, I need a No Objection Certificate from the Indian government. This remains a huge problem,” says Ms. Tehmida, adding that her friends from Pakistan often ask her if she has visited Mumbai or the Taj Mahal. “What could I say?”Slow citizenship process Tears roll down the eyes of Ms. Maqbool as she recalls the time her father passed away, in April 2012. She could not go and see him one last time as she had submitted her passport to the Indian government as part of her citizenship application process. “It is a very slow process,” she says. “I received the citizenship certificate only in April 2016.” Rukaiyya Khalam (52), from Pakistan’s Rabwah, has a similar story. She came to India in 1994 and started her citizenship process right then. “My mother passed away in 1996. But there is a requirement that in order to get citizenship, I should not leave India for seven years after I come here. So I didn’t go. Now, more than 20 years later, I am still not an Indian national,” she says.Ms. Tehmida, however, is happy in one respect. “I am free to practise my beliefs the way I want”.Mr. Ahmed, too, dwells on the relief in being able to freely call oneself a Muslim.In September, the Pakistani government had removed Princeton economist Atif Mian, an Ahmadiyya, from the newly set up Economic Advisory Council because of opposition from the Sunni majority. “In Pakistan, we can’t keep the Koran. We can’t celebrate Id. We can’t publish any of our books or periodicals. We can’t greet with Assalamu alaikum. There is not a single month when our people are not martyred. How would they accept one of us in the national Economic Advisory Council? India and most of the 211 other countries where our people live are extremely tolerant in this matter as compared to Pakistan,” he says.Members of the community say that they can lead a normal life In India, like any other Muslim, so long as they don’t show that they’re Ahmadiyya. Mansoor Ahmad, a local who often visits his relatives in Delhi, says that his nieces and nephews go to a private college and none of their friends really care what community they are from. “But it’s not always like this. There have been instances when hardliners in Ludhiana have created a ruckus because of our presence during religious programmes. But even on those occasions things never escalated to violence,” he says.last_img read more