State of Hindus in Pakistan: November 2014 Update
Persecution and discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan has been increasing gradually in Pakistan. After the series of attacks on more than dozens of Hindu temple in Sindh in last six months from January to June 2014, now the Islamists have started to convert minor Hindu girls into Islam. Extremism has penetrated in Sindh extensively although many people claim that Sindh is the land of peace, harmony, pluralism and Sufism.
The alleged forced conversion of Hindu girls and their subsequent marriage with a Muslim man has triggered protests from the Hindu community and civil society organizations in Sindh. In the November, incidents of dozens of forced conversion of Hindu girls have been reported by the Pakistani Media. However the unreported number would be more.
Neelam Kohli-The 11 year old girl Ms Neelam Kolhi daughter of Nemoon from the Hindu Kohli community residence of Bheel Colony Kot Ghulam Muhammad, Sindh was kidnapped in September 2014 from nearby her residence by Akbar Khokhar with the help of two other people Javed Kokhar and Dalho Kolhi. After kidnaping, they brought her to a Mosque/Madrasa at Mirpurkhas and converted her into Islam and married her.
After the intervention of police, she was rescued through court on 2 October despite unending pressure from the Maulvis and religious clerks. The girl was handed over to her parents but there was no action taken against the abductors, particularly Akbar Khokar and his allies who claimed in court that she was married and was four weeks pregnant.
Anjali Menghwar-On October 30, 2014 Ms Anjali aged 12 years, belonging to the Hindu scheduled caste of Menghwar, and daughter of Kundan Menghwar has been kidnapped, forcibly converted into Islam, and falsely married away with the kidnapper under the patronage of Bhurchunddi Sharif in Sindh.
On October 24, another young girl Kajal Bheel, daughter of Mohan Laal Bheel was abducted from her home at Udero Laal town in the district of Halla in Sindh, Pakistan. Anjali bai belonged to same city Deharki where the 17 year old Rinkle kumari was abducted and converted just couple of years back. The irony is how 12 year old girls can decide to get married and change their religion. The constitution and laws in Pakistan do not allow child marriage before the age of 18. Anjali’s school leaving and birth certificates confirms that she was born in 2002 and therefore her marriage is illegal.
Hence the criminal case should be lodged against the religious clerks who performed the marriage of Anjali. But the civil judge of Daharki Civil Court sent her to Karachi to a shelter home instead of sending her to her parents’ home. Later she was produced before the court where Anjali claimed that she has converted willingly. The question is how she can refuse her marriage and conversion though she was brainwashed at the shelter home. Her parents were not allowed to meet her at the shelter home despite the order from the court and a resolution passed from Sindh assembly. The abductor Mr. Riaz was arrested from Karachi on November 12, 2014. However the case is still in the court.
Kiran Kumari-Ms. Kiran was kidnaped from her home. In the court, she claimed that she had willingly married Mr. Babar Samon, a Muslim. The girl’s family was complaining that she had been abducted and pleaded to get her back from her kidnappers. However, after her statement, the court did not pay any attention to her family’s pleading. The report says she is 14 years old. And so it is incredible that the court chose to ignore her age.
Parsa Kolhi- A student of class eight, Parsa from Taluka Kunri Umerkot was recovered on 16 November 2014 after one week of being reported missing from school. She was recovered from the village of Kapri some seven kilometres away from Taluka Kunri, Umerkot. She was not converted but was sexually exploited. She was abducted on 12 November.
Wali Kolhi-Wali Kolhi appeared in the high court along with Ms. Zahid Ali Banglani who took her to give a statement in the court that she wanted to marry Mr. Zahid. However, Ms. Wali, when she saw lawyers and Judges in the court, cried loudly and requested the court to save her from Mr. Zahid who was forcing her to marry with him and convert her to Islam. However Mr. Zahid succeeded in fleeing from the court. The Police called her parents and handed her over to them.
Other incidents of forced conversions reported in November 2014
Parvati Kolhi aged 13 was abducted from her home in Taluka Samaro Umerkot. On 19 November 2014, two Hindu girls named Warjoo, aged 12, daughter of Roopo Kolhi in Samaro, and Hindwani aged 15 from the Bagri Hindu caste were abducted.
On November 27, 2014 two more girls, Mavi and Bhadi were kidnapped from district Badin, Tehsil Matli from the village Rehmatullah Arain, Sindh. Mavi the daughter of Venjho Kolhi (aged 12/13 years), and Bhadi (aged 13/14 years), daughter of Shambo kolhi were abducted by Mr Khameeso Arain and Meero Dal and were forcibly married off. The culprits entered their poor Hindu home and abducted the two girls at gunpoint.
The F.I.R is registered at the police station in Gulab Laghari. Information received so far indicates that these Hindu girls are at the residence of Peer Ayoob Jan Sarhandhi Samaro, who often convert Hindus into Islam. Their case is in the court.
On 17 November, three Hindu minority scheduled caste girls were presented in the courts including Parsha Kolhi from Kunri, Wali and Kajal Bheel. Parsa was handed over to her parents. However, there was no investigation ordered into what happened with her during her abduction.
Wali from Samaro brought by Zahid Ali Banglani in the Hyderabad court was also handed over to parents. Kajal Bheel too, was presented in the Hyderabad high court, where the judge ordered her medical check-up, and then to reappear in the court. The fourth girl, Kiran Kumari abducted from Nawabshah was presented in the court where the police without arresting any person involved in her abduction, said in court that Kiran converted and got married out of her free will. The judge dismissed the case. Her mother suffered a heart attack and was admitted in the hospital.
Following these gruesome incidents against Hindus, the Sindh Assembly has passed a resolution against forced religious conversion and forced marriages of Hindu girls on 18 November 2014.
Media and Civil society organization
Many demonstrations and protests were arranged in various cities of Sindh against the forced conversion of Hindu girls. Local Sindhi electronic and print media highlighted the cases of forced conversion of Hindu girls.