Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By Rabia Ali, Karachi
As many as 20 to 25 girls from the Hindu community are abducted every month and converted forcibly, said Amarnath Motumal, an advocate and council member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
“There is no official record to support this statement, but according to estimates, in Karachi alone, a large number of Hindu girls are being kidnapped on a routine basis,” Motumal told The News. “The families of the victims are scared to register cases against the influential perpetrators as death threats are issued to them in case they raise their voice. So, the victims choose to remain silent to save their lives,” he said.
Motumal said the word ‘Hindu’ had become an insult and a kind of abuse for the Hindu community. “Almost 90 per cent of the Hindu community comprise poor and impoverished families whose needs and rights have been neglected by the ones at the helms of power,” he said, adding that since a majority of the people feel helpless, only a few families come to him with their cases.
A former MPA, Bherulal Balani, said that the Hindu girls, especially the ones belonging to scheduled castes, were mostly being abducted from the Lyari area. “Once the girls are converted, they are then sold to other people or are forced to do illegal and immoral activities,” Balani said. He added the perpetrators were very powerful and that was the reason that no cases were being registered against them.
The number of attacks against the Hindu community has increased in the interior Sindh during the last three months. At least nine incidents have been reported which range from forced conversion of Hindus to rape and murders.
In one incident, a 17-year-old girl ‘K’ was gang-raped in Nagarparker area. In another incident, a 15-year-old girl ‘D’ was allegedly abducted from Aaklee village, Tharparkar, and was forced to convert. About 71 families migrated from the village in protest against the girl’s abduction.
Moreover, the Hindu communities were not even spared on the occasion of their joyous festival of Holi as two girls, Anita and Kishni, were kidnapped in Kotri. Moreover, two Hindu boys, Ajay and Sagar, were abducted from another place on the same day.
One Amir Gul was murdered in the beginning of March in Tando Haider, Umerkot, allegedly by a landlord. Later in the month, a boy, Kishan Kumar, was kidnapped from Kandhkot, Jacobabad.
MPA Pitamber Sewani told The News that these acts were being done by certain elements who believe that these minority communities might support the government in the upcoming local bodies’ elections, and these elements want to harass them.
However, President Pakistan Hindu Council Ramesh Kumar criticised the minorities’ representatives for not raising their voice at relevant forums. He said that they were simply representing their respective parties and not the poor people. He added that poor economic conditions had led to an increase in kidnapping cases in the province, especially in the Kandhkot and Jacobabad areas.
Coordinator HRCP Task Force Sindh Dr Ashothama Lohano told The News the according to their one fact-finding report, the most affected persons of violence belonged to Hindu and Christian communities. He said that various reasons have been cited for this. “The recent wave of extremism is one reason, which has destroyed the harmony of the land of Sufis. Another reason is the destruction of the agriculture sector and small markets that has led to frustration and lawlessness. Yet another reason is that the elected representatives are working only for the party and not for the community,” Dr Lohano added.
He further said that minority communities were easy targets as the Hindus were generally hesitant to raise voice against the injustices. “When the Hindu communities become politically active, they are blamed for having Indian connections,” doctor Lohano said.