March 7, 2012 : The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a judicial officer and a member of the National Assembly from the ruling party have forced a 17-year- old Hindu girl to convert to Islam after her abduction by notorious gangsters. After her forced marriage her whereabouts are unknown. When the Hindu girl was produced before the judicial magistrate where she denied her consent to the marriage and revealed her willingness to go home the judicial officer said that in Islam the home of a newly married girl was the home of her husband and she was not allowed to go to her parents. She was also repeatedly slapped in the court by a member of the National Assembly for denying the conversion to Islam.
The president of Pakistan took notice of the case but in a move to appease the fundamentalists he avoided taking any action against the religious groups.
The Hindu community throughout the country is protesting against the inaction by the government. They say that fundamentalist Islamic organizations and the government of Pakistan are forcing them to leave the country.
Ms. Rinkle Kumari, (17), a Hindu girl living in Mirpur Mathelo; a small city of Sindh province and the daughter of a school teacher, was abducted on the night of 23 February by notorious gangsters of the area with the help of a member of the National Assembly from ruling party and local Muslim fundamentalist groups. Following her abduction she was forced to embrace Islam.
According to the information received, Naveed Shah, a member of a famous criminal group of Hassam Kalwarh, along with more than dozen persons abducted Kumari from her house on 23 February. They kidnapped her at gunpoint and took her to the resident of Mian Abdul Haq, alias Mian Mithhu, the member of the National Assembly from the ruling party, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party. She was then taken to a famous Madressa at Dargah Aalia Qadria Bharchoondi Sharif where she had forced to sign the marriage certificate (Nikkah Nama) and married with Naveed Shah, a street gangster. The Madressa is famous for converting Hindu girls in the province which claims that it has the target to convert 2000 Hindus every year to Islam.
Ms. Kumari’s uncle, Daya Raam, lodge an FIR no. 21/21012 in Mirpur Mathelo Police Station. Initially the police was reluctant to register the case against the influential and powerful people but later on due to immense pressure from the Hindu Community and Media, they were forced to register the FIR on February 24.
Ms. Kumari was recovered by the Police and then presented before the civil court, where she pleaded in front of the civil judge to go be allowed to return to her parents. According to law in under section 164 of Pakistan Penal Code, a statement before the magistrate, she needed to be present with the two parties in the presence of their lawyers, in the first session she informed her parents that she was not willing to marry Naveed Shah and she was pressurized to convert to Islam.
She informed them that she was abducted by Naveed Shah and other men with Hassam Kalwarh, a notorious gangster, who came through the roof of their house to kidnap her. In the year 2000, Hassam Kalwarh was arrested by the police and on the orders of the court he was paraded on a donkey through the streets after black colour was put on his face. This man is a favourite of Muslim fundamentalist groups for helping them to kidnap Hindu girls and forcing them to convert to Islam. During the court proceedings she cried out and pleaded to the civil judge that she wants to live with her parents.
Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mittho the member of National Assembly slapped her repeatedly infront of the judge and threatened her not to give any statement in their favour and she has become Muslim and could not go to her family back otherwise her family has to bear dire consequences. But the court was failed to get her confessional statement under section 164 and instead of sending her to her parent’s house sent her to a women police station, Sukkur district.
On 26 February the President of Pakistan took notice of the prevailing case but avoided to take any action against the fundamentalist groups.
When the police was informed that the president of Pakistan has taken notice of the incident they, in an effort to please the perpetrators, particularly the member of the National Assembly, suddenly took her from Sukkur women’s’ police station, Sukkur city at 2 am in the night to a far flung area, the Mathelo, 35 kilometers away from Sukkur city. Due to the depilated condition of the roads it takes more than one and half hours to reach Mathelo from Sukkur.
The next morning the lawyers and family members of Kumari came to know that she was sent to Mathelo court and then they hurriedly went there but the police had put barricaded the roads leading towards the court with oil and water tankers. The fundamentalists, who were heavily armed, however, were allowed to enter the court in hundreds. When the family members and their lawyers were able to reach the court at around 8.45 am they found there was jubilation with aerial firing by the Muslim groups after she had been declared Muslim.
The court proceeding was started at 8.15 and within no time the civil Judge announced that she has embraced Islam. Still no confessional statement had been taken under section 164 by the court. The court was full of fundamentalists and gangsters who were chanting slogans in favour of Islam. She repeatedly told the court, according to court staff, that she wanted to go to her parents but the judge declared that the home of the husband was the proper home of a newly married girl.
Eventually the judge gave the decision in favour of the perpetrators and Ms. Kumari was handed over to the Haq’s men without consulting her parents. Again justice has surrendered before injustice and the rule of law has been violated.
After the court’s announcement the girl was whisked away by the perpetrators and since then her whereabouts are unknown. The girl’s father told that he and his family was pressurised and threatened by the political and criminal elements to accept the decision of the court or else he will have to face the bitter consequences and they also have to fear for their lives if they disobeyed them.
The Hindu community throughout the country is agitating against the forced conversion to Islam and the abduction of Hindu girls by the powerful persons, legislator and fundamentalist groups.
Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mittho, a member of National Assembly, from the ruling party, runs the gangs of criminals with the help of local administration and notorious Muslim fundamentalist groups and involved in many criminal activities. His father, Mian Abdul Rahim was also involved in the murder of a Hindu freedom fighter, Mr. Kanwar Ram, in 1939 and for his sectarian killings he was rewarded with the agriculture lands by the colonial power.
Young Hindu girls are being kidnapped and converted to Islam after they are subjected to forced marriage with Muslim boys. This practice has created resentment among the minority communities living in Sindh.
Rinkle Kumari’s case is one of the hundreds of cases brought into the knowledge of people around the world by the AHRC. Around 20 to 25 forced conversions take place every month in Sindh. It is feared that a situation is being created which may force Hindus to leave Sindh, but, according to the Hindu communities, they would prefer to die rather than migrate. This situation can worsen the social values of Sindh, where people are still living without any discrimination. Even there are hundreds and thousands of examples prevailing in Sindh where people from all religions, clans still live together without any discrimination. There are even places in Sindh where Hindu and Muslims worship together.
Please write the letters, mentioned below, to the authorities calling them to initiate an impartial inquiry in to the matters of forced conversion to Islam by the powerful people, fundamentalist groups and police. Please urge them to prosecute the Mian Mitho, the civil magistrate of Ghotki district and incharge of Bharchundi Madressa and the other perpetrators for abduction of the Hindu girls and forcing them to convert their religion.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Religion and violence against women calling for their intervention into this matter.
Source : www.humanrights.asia