Tag Archives: Bharchundi

Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh

By Marvi Sirmed

Malalai Yusafzai, the brilliant Pakistani girl who defied Taliban’s dictation and stood firm on getting educated and persuaded her peers to do so, is a face of Pakistan that we all want to see. More and more. With pride and denial. We like to see Malalai in denial of Rinkle. Rinkle Kumari, the 19 years old Sindhi Hindu girl who was kidnapped and allegedly forcibly converted to Islam before coercively marrying her to a Muslim Naveed Shah. The ones who show this uncomfortable face of Pakistan are condemned to be the ‘traitors’ and ‘Pakistan-haters’. If trying to correct these painful imperfections of our society is treason, let me commit it for once. Rinkle’s story needs to be told loudly and to everyone.

Rinkle was kidnapped on February 24 by Naveed Shah and four other people. Police refused to lodge an FIR and to include the names of the influential Mian Aslam, Mian Rafique and their father Mian Mithu. She was produced in the court of Civil Judge Ghotki where she insisted on going to her family but the judge illegally sent her to the police custody in Sukkur Women’s Police Station.

Continue reading Rinkle Kumari – the new Marvi of Sindh

Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

The recent spate of forced conversions, killings and abductions for ransom of non-Muslims living in Pakistan is an open question mark to the democratic governance and establishment of the country.

“Unless we protect and strengthen the weak, we will not be able to exercise the true power of democracy,” said Nazish Brohi, an independent research professional and a human rights activist.

Inaccessibility to appropriate health facilities, education and other essentials of life have transformed many Pakistanis into ‘weaker beings’, with non-Muslim factions topping the list. It is consequential to understand that protection of the suppressed and marginalised population of Pakistan indeed, is the only way to prove our stance towards a secular country.

In a country such as Pakistan, where male section of the society is predominantly overpowering, women generally face an ‘unequal’ share of hatred and discrimination.

A case of double jeopardy

Pakistani women are more susceptible to violence and other violations of human and civil rights however non-Muslim women are subjected to more discriminated behaviour on different stages and level which increase the magnitude of their ordeal.

“A vast population of Pakistani women suffer from effects of double jeopardy as they are discriminated because of multiple reasons,” said Brohi.

“Women in general are discriminated by men of their own families because they are considered to be carrying the responsibility of safeguarding their honour. Women are then subjected to discrimination because of the fact that they profess other faiths. And then the never-ending discrimination goes on,” added Brohi.

According to a report published by National commission for Justice and Peace, 74 per cent of minority women living in Pakistan faced sexual harassment during 2010 and 2011, respectively, whereas 43 per cent complained about facing religious discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions and neighbourhoods.

Moreover the report also proved that 68.4 per cent of non-Muslim women have no political participation which according to Brohi evidently signifies the mistrust of minority women in the political system primarily because it does not offer significant assistance to them.

Forced conversions

With forced conversions and kidnappings for ransom on the rise, many non-Muslims have fled Pakistan to seek refuge abroad.

Mangla Sharma, Chairperson of Pak-Hindu Welfare association said, “forced conversions and blasphemy laws affect non-Muslims of Pakistan at every level. In fact it will not be unwise to say that legislation and laws are manipulated to favour the majority,”

Continue reading Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

Amar Jalil’s Program on Sindh TV with Advocate Amar Lal on Rinkal case

The language of the program is Sindhi.

Courtesy: Sindh Tv News (Amar Jalil with Advocate Amar Lal) » YouTube

SAPAC efforts for Rinkal Case

March 30, 2012 – SAPAC, Washington, DC: On 24th February, 2012 , a young Hindu girl named Rinkel Kumari was abducted from her home in a small village in Sindh, Pakistan. It was a full twelve hours before her family discovered where she was. Rinkel, aged 19, had been forced to change her religion to Islam and to marry a young man named Naveed Shah. Her parents immediately filled a first information report and brought her case before a civil judge. The court house was surrounded by thugs and supporters of the Pakistani Peoples’ Party Member of the National Assembly (PPP MNA) who was assisting Naveed. Under tremendous pressure, and obvious duress, Rinkel testified that she had married and converted to Islam of her own will. The judge released her into Naveed’s custody. Unsatisfied with the verdict, the Hindu community in Sindh rallied together to demand justice for Rinkel and other Hindu girls who had faced the same fate.

Continue reading SAPAC efforts for Rinkal Case

In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Hopes for the rapid resolution of a controversy over the conversion of a Hindu woman to Islam that has seized the Pakistani public were dashed on Monday, when the Supreme Court declined to decide the matter for at least three more weeks.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ruled that Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu student who converted under disputed circumstances last month, should spend the next three weeks pondering her fate in protective custody, along with another Hindu woman in a similar situation.

During an emotional and sometimes rowdy hearing in a packed courtroom in Islamabad, the capital, Chief Justice Chaudhry noted that there had been “serious allegations of abduction and forced conversion” in both cases.

“Both ladies must have an atmosphere without any pressure to make a decision about their future,” he said.

Continue reading In Pakistan, No Quick End to Islam Conversion Case

Sindh’s Stolen Brides

On the other side of the Thar, Hindus, especially girls, are forced into Islam

By Mariana Baabar

Hindus In Pakistan

Hindus constitute about 2.5 per cent, or 26 lakh, of Pakistan’s population.

Though sprinkled all over Pakistan, 95 per cent of Hindus are in Sindh.

Only Tharparkar district in Sindh has Hindus in majority: 51 per cent.

Other districts with sizeable population: Mirpur Khas (41 per cent), Sanghar (35 per cent), Umerkot (43 per cent)

Nearly 82 per cent of Pakistani Hindus are lower caste, most of them farm labourers

Cities with some Hindu population: Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

In Tharparkar, Hindus own land. Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal are the Hindus in the Pakistan National Assembly.

***

Let me confess at the outset: I’m travelling in rural Sindh to verify specifically the reported widespread menace of abduction of Hindu girls, their forcible conversion to Islam and betrothal to Muslim men. My first port of call is the district court of Mirpur Khas. I promptly mingle among the crowd waiting for the court’s decision on a kidnap-and-conversion case. Different voices narrate contradictory stories. I am befuddled for the moment.

Soon, a frisson of excitement sweeps through the throng, as a police van drives through the gate. Inside it is Mariam. She’s 13 years old—and married! Mariam was Mashu, and Hindu, till the night of December 22, 2005. I pick my way through the jostling crowd. Mariam is in a red burqa, her gold nose ring sparkles. She tells me, “I’m happy. I don’t want to return to my parents or brother.” What’s the fuss about, I wonder.

It’s quite another story under the pipal tree of the court compound. Huddled under it are the villagers of Jhaluree, 20 km from Mirpur Khas. Among them is Mashu’s father, Malo Sanafravo. He says that at 11 pm, December 22, four armed men barged into their room. One of them was Malo’s neighbour, Akbar. They picked up Mashu, bundled her into the waiting car. “She was taken to Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi’s village in Saamaaro tehsil.” There Mashu became Mariam and was married to Akbar.

Not true, insists husband Akbar. “Mariam has been always in my heart,” he gushes, saying, at 11 pm, December 22, it was she who had come over to his house. But it’s true that the Pir converted her and married them—it was his idea that they issue statements in the court. “Mariam was sent to Darul Aman in Hyderabad, in judicial custody,” Akbar declares.

A 13-year-old choosing to convert and marry? A 13-year-old testifying in the court, without her family by her side? Suspicious, I walk over to the SHO, caught in the middle of a heated exchange between two groups. Someone suggests he should allow the girl to meet her relatives. Before the conversion yes, not now. She has now become Muslim, says the SHO. He argues, “There’s a huge crowd here. If Mariam breaks down after seeing her father, there will be a communal riot here in the compound.”

A little later, there are celebrations as the word spreads: the court has allowed the couple to live together. Standing next to me is Kanjee Rano Bheel. He works for an NGO in the education sector; volunteers for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) as well. “In just two hours Mashu was converted and married,” Kanjee says incredulously.

Disappointment and helpless rage fleet across his face. “In Darul Aman the girls are kept away from parents and pressured into issuing statements favourable to the abductors. They tame stubborn girls through death threats.”

So, was Mashu abducted and forcibly converted?

In Mirpur Khas, truth resembles the mirage of the surrounding Thar desert, teasing and tormenting me as I drive from Karachi into interior Sindh. It tests your credulity, it challenges your journalistic skills. Wherever I go, and whoever I meet, in disconsolate voices the Hindus talk about ‘missing girls’; their stories resemble Mashu’s—the theme of abduction, conversion, often followed by marriage, is common to most narrations. The girls then appear in courts to issue statements declaring their conversion was voluntary. All links to the natal family and the community are severed; they are lost to the family forever. On January 4, 2005, Marvi, 18, and Hemi, 16, were kidnapped from Kunri village in Umerkot district; three months later, on March 3, 14-year-old Raji was abducted from Aslam Town Jhuddo, Mirpur Khas. The script in their cases was similar to Mashu’s. “Only 10 per cent of all conversions involving girls are voluntary; because of romance,” says Kanjee.

Ten per cent of what? No official figures are available. The DIG in Mirpur Khas, Saleemullah, says, “If there’s need I’ll collect these figures.

Saleemullah, perhaps, should tap the HRCP for statistics. Its director in Lahore, I.A. Rehman, is an honourable man. Rehman told Outlook that the HRCP has, between Jan 2000 to Dec 2005, documented 50 cases involving conversion of Hindu girls to Islam. Its investigations too endorse what I had found in interior Sindh. In many cases where it was claimed the girls had eloped with their Muslim partners, the HRCP found that most were, in fact, abducted, forcibly married to Muslim men or sold to them. There have been cases of Hindu girls, usually from economically better off families, eloping with their Muslim boyfriends. Rehman says in most cases such marriages didn’t last long. With links to their families cut off, the girls were subsequently forced to marry another Muslim or sucked into marriage rackets.

Nuzzhat Shirin, who works for the Lahore-based ngp Aurat Foundation, understands why the girls don’t reveal their plight at the time they are presented in court. “When a Hindu is forced to become Muslim, such a ruckus is made that if the young kidnapped girl appears in court, the fanatics yell, scream, throw rose petals in the air and follow the youth into the building so that she’s intimidated and can’t speak,” Shirin explains.

Social stigma arising from the loss of virginity, and the consequent difficulty of finding a groom, prompt these women to accept their misfortune—and hope for the best.

Fifty incidents in five years represents just a percentage of the total number of cases, says Kanjee, pointing out that a majority of such crimes go unreported. “There have been 50 such incidents last year,” insists Krishen Bheel, who is a Hindu member of the National Assembly (MNA), the Pakistani equivalent of the Lok Sabha. He begins to rattle out the cases he remembers: two months back Sapna was kidnapped and converted in upper Sindh; seven months earlier it was 17-year-old Lakshmi in Nawkot, and then…. “The trend is increasing,” he says. “If these conversions are voluntary, then how come boys rarely ever convert?”

Only once did the popular resentment against abduction spill out in the streets of Mirpur Khas. It was in the ’80s: a girl named Sita had been kidnapped. Some 70,000 Hindus turned up to protest the kidnapping. The police opened fire, killing several. “Sita was never returned,” Krishen laments. “She had even told Justice Dhorab Patel, who later joined the HRCP, that she had been forcibly converted. We have now stopped agitating.”

Instead, the Hindus take the support of civil rights groups and the media to publicise abduction cases, hoping public scrutiny would goad the state into action.

On Dec 30, the day after the Mariam case was disposed, the Supreme Court took cognisance of the complaint Qosheela’s parents from Ghotki, Sindh, had filed. They claimed their 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped, converted, given the name of Hajra and married to a Muslim man. The girl, as in most other cases, had said she had converted of her own free will. A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, ordered the medical examination of the girl to determine whether she had attained puberty (Islam permits marriage at that age). Should it be proved otherwise, the husband could be tried for rape.

Even cities are not immune to the menace. Last year, Sammo Amra and Champa in Karachi received a letter from their three missing daughters—Reena (21), Reema (17) and Usha (19)—informing that they had converted to Islam and were ordained under the dictates of their new religion not to live with infidels, including their Hindu parents. The letter bore the address of Madrassa Taleemul Islam, Karachi. It prompted Supreme Court Bar Association president Malik Mohammad Qayyum to petition the Supreme Court in the first week of December. He accused the religious seminary’s administrator of using coercive methods to convert the three girls. On December 16, the court ordered the police to shift the girls to the Edhi Welfare Centre and provide protection to them until the time it was ascertained they had been indeed compelled to convert to Islam.

Sensitive Muslim citizens feel the way to counter the menace is to reinterpret and widen the scope of law.

Major (retd) Kamran Shafi, an absentee landlord from Sindh, cites the case of 17-year-old Kochlia, who was kidnapped and gangraped in Jacobabad, Sindh, in Sept 2005. Four men were arrested for the crime. They were subsequently released because Kochlia stated in the court she had converted and was married to one of them. Shafi asks, “Isn’t something very, very wrong here? Suppose the poor girl was forced into changing her religion and marrying one of the assailants so that they get off the hook? Can’t the state prosecute the four on its own, for their original crime of rape?”

The three Hindu MNAs—Krishen Bheel, Gyan Chand and Ramesh Lal—raised the Kochlia case in the National Assembly. They claimed Kochlia’s statement was not tenable as under the local Hindu custom and law a girl can’t marry of her own will until the age of 20. Since Kochlia is a minor, her abductors should be tried for rape. Such an interpretation of existing laws could provide ample relief to Hindus.

Till then, though, the fear of kidnap stalks the Hindus of Pakistan. Krishen Bheel says Hindu girls are scared to go out; he has enrolled his own children into a Christian school. He points to Mirpur Khas’ strange predicament: there’s freedom to worship, there are 10 temples which bustle through the day with devotees; and yet Hindu girls here are kidnapped and converted—and the community humiliated.

Perhaps these abductions are part of the general scenario of crime against women in rural Pakistan (see box). Perhaps they are converted and married to criminals to enable the latter to escape the dragnet of the law. Yet, such arguments don’t comfort the Hindus. Sat Ram, of Shadi Bali village near Mirpur Khas, says Hindu girls are deprived of education because their parents are apprehensive of sending them to schools located at a distance. “They receive education only till the primary level. It isn’t safe to send them to school after that.”

But the plight of Hindu women can’t be seen just through the prism of gender discrimination rampant in rural Sindh. Reena Gul, of Sattar Nagar village, Mirpur Khas, says the boys too are converted but their numbers are very few. The community here feels it is the Islamist’s agenda to drive out non-Muslims from Pakistan. In fact, Krishen told the National Assembly that even Hindu businessmen are being kidnapped in Sindh for ransom. He said on the floor of the House, “Several religious parties are reportedly behind the move to convince the people that it is their responsibility to get rid of infidels from Pakistan, (that) taking ransom from non-Muslims is not a sin.”

I now set out to meet Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi, whose name surfaces repeatedly in conversion stories. The drive from Mirpur Khas to Sarhandi village, Somarho tehsil, is through a picturesque landscape. Peacocks dance in the field and gypsies pitch their tents for the night. Even the Pir appears tranquil, his white flowing beard and winsome disposition camouflaging his mission.

Yet, when he begins to talk, he conceals nothing. Yes, the Pir declares, he has been converting the Hindus for the last 30 years. Perhaps his claims of converting a 1,000 families a year is a boast. “There’s a surah in the Quran which speaks specifically about conversion, especially about conversion of women,” he says to justify his mission. “Recently, three Hindu girls were brought to me. I named them Benazir, Sanam and Nusrat,” he reveals, with the righteous air of someone who had bestowed a favour. “These Hindu women are mistreated by their husbands who do nothing but watch TV.”

The Pir rubbishes the allegation that he converts abducted Hindu girls. The unwilling are sent back. Yet, he adds in the same breath, “In many cases Hindu girls are kidnapped and kept as keeps. But these keeps are not converted. But believe me, they are very happy.”

I express the desire to meet the women whom he had converted and found sanctuary with him. The Pir agrees, even allows us to photograph them, contrary to the local tradition. Into the room, the women walk. Rehana, 50, was earlier Nabee; she converted three years ago, after the death of her husband. “I had no one to turn to. If we do not convert we would not be helped by this family.” It was the same reason for 35-year-old Mariam, who came here seven years back. “Under the Pir’s protection, I earn at least Rs 200 a month.” Ruksana was earlier Chotee, and hails from Umerkot. Extreme poverty and a drug-addict husband persuaded her to take the extreme step. “I brought my four kids as well,” she declares.

As I talk to these women, I realise most of them are widows or wallowing in poverty. I mention this to the Pir. He says, “The government is responsible for all Hindus and non-Hindus. When the government doesn’t help them, they come to us.”

Forced or economically enticed, the Hindu converts do not symbolise Islam’s appeal. Rather they represent the state’s failure to provide succour to the poor and protect their religious rights. Perhaps it’s also symptomatic of the sickness afflicting the Pakistani state. As they say, the condition of the minorities is an indicator of a nation’s health.

Courtesy: OutLook

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?229886#.T3IYtTDwlfl.twitter

Via – Twitter

RInkle Kumari and her precedents

Brides of contention- (article from 1994..the more things change..)

Also see this article from a few days ago..and don’t miss this video celebrating Rinke Kumari’s conversion (reversion?) to Islam, complete with poetry by Allama Iqbal Jihadi. Click here

By Hasan Mujtaba (btw, notice that communists and socialists in both India and Pakistan have been more consistent than most in fighting such evils, sometimes at great personal risk)

( I wrote this story about forced conversion of Hindu women in Pakistan of 1994. So far forced conversion of Hindu women nothing has been changed. Even the modus operandi of forced conversions and its operaters remain as the same)…… …… ……… …….

On January 19, a Hindu girl named Daya Bai disappeared from her house in Daharki, district Ghotki (Sindh, Pakistan). She surfaced ten days later outside the deputy commissioner’s office, wearing bridal clothes,and accompanied by several hundred strong gathering (MANY OF WHOM WERE ARMED WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPONS) led by pirs of Bharchundi chanting Allaho – Akbar. During the nikah (wedding) that followed, Daya Bai’s mother wept inconsolably, repeatedly striking her head on the floor in anguish,”let me meet my daughter even if she is getting married’ she implored but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

For the Hindu community in Sukkur and Larkano, Daya Bai’s disappearance, conversion to Islam and subsequent marriage with a Muslim in suspicious circumstances is not unpresedented occurance. Between January and February at least 3 Hindu girls, Daya Bai from Daharki, Shakuntala from Pano Aquil, and Bhagawanti, the daughter of a Larkano professor were allegedly kidnapped from from their homes at the gunpoint. Of the three, Daya Bai and Bahgawanti converted to Islam and married muslim men whereas Shakunatala’s whereabouts are not known. Shakuntala, allegedly kidnapped from her home by a man named Kalhoro, she embraced Islam and married to someone other than her abductor. Speculation abounds that she may have been sold. The story of the daughter of Koro Mal, Hindu trader from Larkana, is similar. THERE ARE SEVERAL SUCH INSTANCES IN WHICH GIRLS BELIEVED TO HAVE ELOPED WITH THEIR MUSLIM LOVERS ARE NOT MARRIED TO THEM BUT WERE EITHER MARRIED OFF TO SOMEONE ELSE OR KILLED.

The increasing incidents of forcible conversions and marriages of Hindu girls have compelled some Hindus to migrate to India to protect their daughters and family honor. ‘The parents of girls who have met this fate are like the living dead’ says Ghanshyam Das a social worker in Kashmore.

Similarly, as Mukhi Nihalchand, a Hindu community leader in Rohri points out forcible conversion of Hindu men continues unreported and unabated. The conversion at Bharchundi of a Hindu boy from a wealthy Umerkot family sometime back is a case in point. After a while, the boy reconverted to Hinduism and migrated to India with his family.

Continue reading RInkle Kumari and her precedents

In Pakistan, Hindus Say Woman’s Conversion to Islam Was Coerced

By DECLAN WALSH

GHOTKI, Pakistan — Banditry is an old scourge in this impoverished district of southern Pakistan, on the plains between the mighty river Indus and a sprawling desert, where roving gangs rob and kidnap with abandon. Lately, though, local passions have stirred with allegations of an unusual theft: that of a young woman’s heart.

In the predawn darkness on Feb. 24, Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old student from a Hindu family, disappeared from her home in Mirpur Mathelo, a small village off a busy highway in Sindh Province. Hours later, she resurfaced 12 miles away, at the home of a prominent Muslim cleric who phoned her parents with news that distressed them: Their daughter wished to convert to Islam, he said.

Their protests were futile. By sunset, Ms. Kumari had become a Muslim, married a young Muslim man, and changed her name to Faryal Bibi.

Over the past month, this conversion has generated an acrid controversy that has reverberated far beyond its origins in small-town Pakistan, whipping up a news media frenzy that has traced ugly sectarian divisions and renewed a wider debate about the protection of vulnerable minorities in a country that has so often failed them.

At its heart, though, it is a head-on clash of narratives and motives.

Hindu leaders insist that Ms. Kumari was abducted at gunpoint and forced to abandon her religion. ….

Read more » The New York Times

I.A. Rehman on forced conversions – THE Hindu community, particularly in Sindh, has been in the grip of strong feelings of grief, anger and insecurity Unless its grievances are speedily addressed Pakistan stands to suffer incalculable harm in both material and moral terms

Unwelcome conversions

By I.A Rehman

THE Hindu community, particularly in Sindh, has been in the grip of strong feelings of grief, anger and insecurity for several weeks. Unless its grievances are speedily addressed Pakistan stands to suffer incalculable harm in both material and moral terms.

The issue of Hindu girls’ conversion to Islam and marriage to Muslim men, both transitions alleged to be forced and often after abduction, is not new. Indeed, it has always been high on the Hindu citizens’ list of complaints. What is new is the scale and intensity of their reaction and the large number of their appeals for justice. It seems three recent cases involving Rinkal Kumari, Lata Kumari and Aasha Kumari have unleashed the Hindu community’s long-brewing fears of loss of its religious and cultural identities.

The three cases are not identical in detail. Dr Murli Lal Karira, who belonged to Jacobabad and practised medicine at Suhbatpur, in Jafarabad district, was reported to have been abducted while travelling homeward. Some days later, his niece, Aasha Kumari Karira, who was taking lessons at a Jacobabad beauty parlour, did not return home after her work hours, and was believed to have been abducted. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Dr Lata Kumari, the 29-year old daughter of a medical practitioner from Jacobabad and employed at one of Karachi’s premier medical institutions, was reported to have married a young Muslim man after converting to Islam. Her father alleged that her conversion and marriage took place under coercion after abduction and he moved the high court for redress. The lady denies these allegations. She came to the court when her husband applied for bail before arrest.

The brother of Rinkal Kumari (18) says she was abducted by unknown persons, allegedly backed by an influential MNA. Her family had difficulty in filing an FIR. The next day she and the young man she was said to have married after conversion to Islam were presented in a court at Mirpur Mathelo, while her family had been told to go to a court in Ghotki. The family was not allowed to see her. It is said that she told the magistrate she wanted to go with her family but the latter reportedly expressed his inability to allow a Muslim girl to go to a non-Muslim house and sent her to a Darul Aman. Subsequently she is said to have modified her statement.

One suspects that these cases have provoked an unusual wave of protest because unlike the poor and voiceless victims in earlier cases of forced conversion-marriage affairs, the women now involved come of socially noteworthy families who have some access to electronic means of communication.

Several non-Muslim citizens have argued that these women have been, or are being, forced to accept conversion and marriage under threats of dire consequences to their families if they refuse to surrender.

The state of the common Hindu citizens’ mind is reflected in the e-mail Rinkal Kumari’s brother addressed to the chief justice of Pakistan (copied to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan). He says that Rinkal’s abductors have told her that “if she wants to save her parents’ life she should choose to convert [change] her religion and marry [an] unknown guy…. And yesterday [the] judge ordered that [the] girl wants to change her religion and want[s] to marry …Naveed…. [The] judge even didn’t allow [the] girl to meet … her parents or anybody from her family. There were 500-700 people in [the] courtroom all with guns and there was nobody from [the] girl’s family…. Now hundred[s] of people will take advantage of [the] 18-year-old girl and after that they will sell her to somebody”. Nobody with a reasonably sound heart will fail to be moved by the feelings of anguish and despair oozing from these words.

These cases raise several questions of a fundamental nature.

Continue reading I.A. Rehman on forced conversions – THE Hindu community, particularly in Sindh, has been in the grip of strong feelings of grief, anger and insecurity Unless its grievances are speedily addressed Pakistan stands to suffer incalculable harm in both material and moral terms

Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman’s Letter to President Zardari on Rinkel issue

By Munawar Laghari, SAPAC

Please join me and Sufi Secular Sindhis in appreciating Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman who sent a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari about Rinkel’s issue and issues facing Hindu community in Pakistan.

Read more » Congressman Brad Sherman Letter to President » http://lockerz.com/s/192156333

Kidnapping Of Hindu Girls On The Rise In Pakistan

KARACHI – Lata Kumar, a medical student on her way to college, was kidnapped earlier this week by unidentified persons from a busy Karachi street in the upmarket Defence Housing Area. In February in a similar incident, Rinkle Kumari was abducted in Mirpur Mathelo, a small town in rural Sindh. Both women, Hindus by faith, are feared to have been converted to Islam and married off.

The rise in the number of reports of Hindu girls being kidnapped or made to convert to Islam has sparked concern from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

At the launch of its report on minorities in Pakistan titled ‘Perils of Faith’ earlier this month,the HRCP’s Amarnath Motumal said minor girls and married women are kidnapped and then converted to Islam.

“They kidnap girls who are younger than 15 but they say they are adults and that the girls have accepted Islam and been married of their own free will,” he said. He also pointed out that no one is supporting the Hindu community on the issue. “We are Pakistanis first, and then Hindu. We earn enough and have food to eat but this conversion issue is not acceptable, it has discouraged Hindus in Pakistan.”

HRCP chief Zohra Yusuf noted that the “situation of religious minorities in Pakistan has grown worse over the last year. The government has not taken steps which could improve the status of minorities.”

“Minorities are not considered equal citizens in Pakistan. Some incidents that happened in 2011 have increased their vulnerability”, she said, citing the assassinations of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and former federal minister for minorities affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti.

In front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, members of the minority communities, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs protested. “Give us our Rinkle back. Give us the daughter of Sindh back,” demanded the relatives of the 17-year-old girl.

Courtesy: http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=14962

Rinkle Kumari and Islamists’ sudden support for love marriage: Dr Omar Ali’s comment on Rinkle Kumari

Notice that all the Islamists are saying “it was a love marriage, she left on her own accord to marry Naveed”. This must be the first time they have approved of girls running away from their family to get married. Usually they are on the side of those who are labelling them Kari and arranging for their death …

Courtesy: LUBP and Facebook

via Twitter.

Demand for her freedom and charging of the kidnappers – Overseas Sindhis Condemn the Kidnapping of Ms. Rinkal Kumari

London, UK and Garden Grove, CA: Overseas Sindhis including USA-based Sindhi Association of North America and UK/USA based World Sindhi Congress (WSC) condemn the kidnapping and as that is what she said in open court; forced conversion to Islam of a Hindu teenage girl, Rinkal Kumari. Ms. Kumari kidnapped from Mirpur Mathelo and held in custody of local PPP MNA. When the local community protested, Ms. Kumari was brought to a court but members of the Hindu community were not permitted to enter the public court session. She stated to the court that she wants to go home. But the judge forced her to remain in the custody of her kidnappers.

Continue reading Demand for her freedom and charging of the kidnappers – Overseas Sindhis Condemn the Kidnapping of Ms. Rinkal Kumari

Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

A friend on Facebook had status which said (Translated from Sindhi): “Mian Mithoo can harass a helpless, poor girl to say whatever he likes! Let us give this Pir of Bharchundi (alone) to the men of Bal Thackeray and he would convert (to Hinduism) in no time! (sic)”

Sindh has been known for its Sufi culture which has kept pushing the extremism off its borders. It has in it several shrines, religious harmony, coexistence and tolerance, not to mention the centuries-old civilization, Mohen-jo-Darro. Sindhis have always claimed to have secularism and Sufism to be present as if in their gene and, thus, they wouldn’t ever side with religious intolerance and extremism.

Well, this is true to a great extent since we can see that where Pakistan has seen surge in extremism throughout the post-9/11 period, Sindh has remained comparatively more peaceful and, especially, incidents of extremist activities have been equal to none. There definitely was an incidence of burning NATO oil tankers in Shikarpur, Sindh, but the same was condemned by the Sindhi nationalist parties attributing the incidence to the agencies trying to tarnish the soft image of Sindh; in fact, there were massive protests against the blazing up of the oil tankers throughout the land.

Sindh has been home to many religions, all coexisting peacefully. However, there have been certain incidents which would reveal the nature of the ‘rare’.

One such event which took place on the unfortunate day of November 02, 1939, which blotted the humane face of Sindh, was when a saintly Sufi singer and poet of humble and peace-loving nature, Bhagat Kunwar Ram was murdered at Rukk Station, Sukkur (Sindh) in the name of religion – for being a Hindu.

The person booked as the major perpetrator in the murder was Mian Abdur-Rahim of Bharchundi Dargah, a religious center in a small village of the same name. Bhrarchundi Dargah is famous for spreading hatred against the Hindus, and converting them to Islam forcibly for years now.

Thus, to many in Sindh, this news did not come as a surprise, but it did disturb them to come out on roads and protest against the Pirs of Bharchundi — what happened was that Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl, was kidnapped on February 24, 2012, forced to convert to Islam and, subsequently, marry a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah (a Punjabi settler). And the person involved is none else than a Pir of Bharchundi Dargah, Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), the son of Mian Abdur-Rehman, the major perpetrator in the case of Bhagat Kunwar Ram’s murder in the past. Mian Mithoo also happens to be an MNA of the Pakistan People’s Party, the ruling party.

Continue reading Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam and Married to a Muslim – Sad Story of Rinkle Kumari

Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill- State sponsored discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan

March 8, 2012 – Washington, DC – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about the urgent and alarming case of a Hindu girl, Rinkel Kumari, who was abducted by Muslim fanatics from her home in Mirpur Mathelo and forced to convert her religion to Islam. We are in the process of arranging appointments with members of Congress and their staff to discuss Rinkel’s case as well as the plight of minorities in Pakistan. We would like to invite you to join us as we meet with members of Congress.

Sadly, Rinkel Kumari’s is one of many cases of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan. We have gathered some information about Rinkel’s case and the situation of Hindus in Pakistan below:

· Rinkel Kumari was forcibly abducted from her home in the early hours of February 24, 2012 by Naveed Shah who was accompanied by three other armed men.

· Rinkel was held in custody by Mian Mohammad Aslam, the son of Pakistan Peoples’ Party MNA Miya Mithoo in Bharchundi Shareef where she was forced to marry Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

· On the morning of February 24, Daya Ram, Rinkel’s uncle registered an FIR against Naveed Shah.

· On February 25, Rinkel’s case was brought before a Ghotki civil judge. Rinkel testified that she had been kidnapped and forced to change her religion against her will. However, the judge ruled in favor of Naveed Shah and Rinkel was taken into police custody for two days at Sukkur police station.

· Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

· On February 27, Rinkel appeared in court again. This time, her relatives were not allowed inside the court. Additionally, there were armed followers of the MNA surrounding the court.

· During this second hearing, Rinkel was under pressure and changed her statement in favor of Naveed Shah. She was given into his custody. Rinkel’s family is not aware of the whereabouts of their daughter.

· On March 2, the Hindu community protested in front of the Press Club against the abductions and forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam. The family of Rinkel also participated in the protest.

· Hindus are a minority group in Pakistan, making up approximately 2% of the population.

· According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), around 20 to 25 forced kidnappings and conversions of Hindu girls take place every month in Sindh.

· The Hindu American Foundation states that “many Hindus in Pakistan are compelled to pay regular sums, as a type of ransom, to extortionists and local leaders in exchange for the physical security of their families and themselves.”

· As a result of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, minority groups in Pakistan are not free to express their own religions and ideologies without fear of persecution.

· State sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant. This state sponsored discrimination has caused several Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan. In March 2011, Hindu politician in Pakistan Jaipal Chabria, said that “every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes.”

We humbly request that you contact us to join us in presenting Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Please let us know as soon as possible if you plan to participate. We hope to work together to bring justice to Rinkel and her family and to bring an end to state sponsored discrimination in Pakistan.

Email: sapac.sindh@gmail.com

BBC – Pakistan Hindu woman Rinkle Kumari ‘forced to marry’

By Riaz Sohail

A court in Pakistan has ordered police to find a Hindu woman who was allegedly abducted and forced to marry her Muslim husband.

In a petition before the Sindh High Court, the family of Rinkle Kumari say that her abduction was supported by a powerful politician.

But her husband’s friends say that she voluntarily left home in Sindh province and willingly converted to Islam.

Judges at the court said that Ms Kumari must be produced before them next week.

Human rights activists say that other reported abductions of members of minority communities in Pakistan, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, have not been properly investigated by the authorities.

In the most recent case, Hindu community leaders say that an oath Ms Kumari made in front of a court in her home town that she had freely got married and converted to Islam was made under duress.

They say that many others like her have been forcibly taken away by powerful politicians – some allied to the governing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The Hindu community has accused one of the party’s MPs, Mian Abdul Haq, of supporting the abduction and the forced conversion.

But in an interview with the BBC he strenuously denied the allegations.

“I contacted her family when Rinkle came to me last month,” he said.

“But they refused to respond – and then I was left with no choice but to convert her to Islam and get her married [according to] her will.”

Ms Kumari’s family say that she was kidnapped from her home on 24 February by Naveed Shah – who later married her.

They say that they have registered a police complaint against Mr Shah even though he appeared in court on 25 February with Ms Kumari, who made a statement before the magistrate that she had married him of her own free will.

The family and community leaders, however, say that the magistrate was under “a great deal of pressure” because hundreds of armed tribesmen loyal to Mr Haq were in the court premises.

Mr Haq said that his supporters would abide by the court ruling and that Ms Kumari would appear in court on 12 March.

Courtesy: BBC

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More » Where shall we go?

Save Sindhyat, Save Rinkal Kumari

Rinkal Kumari, a Hindu Girl, from Mirpur Mathelo Sindh Pakistan, was kidnapped on 23rd February 2012 while she was returning home from her college. After being kidnapped, she was taken to Bharchundi Shareef (a small village near Mirpur Mathelo, Sindh, Pakistan) and was put under the custody of Feudal named Mian Mithoo (Member of Assembly). The victim, Rinkal, was harrowed by Mian Mithoo to forcefully convert to Islam and then get married with Naveed Shah, a resident of the same area. Under defenseless circumstances along with physical abuse, Rinkal married Naveed Shah. Disturbed and agonized by the situation, Mr. Raj Kumar (Rinkal’s Uncle) and Rinkal’s family approached the local law enforcement to seek justice but to no avail. The Policemen, negatively influenced by Mian Mithoo, denied the rights of Rinkal’s family to lodge a complaint.After 5 hours of struggle, pleading and literal beseech, the Police finally accepted a written complaint from Rinkal’s family and issued a First Information Report (F.I.R) saying that the case will be presented at 10 am 24th February 2012 in Ghotki Local Court.

Plan Changed and the victim was taken to a different court in Mirpur Mathelo and hearing was rescheduled to 9:00am from 10:00am. These location and time changes were influenced by Mian Mithoo and Rinkal family were not informed about this change. However, knowing this information from an unknown source, Rinkal’s family reached that place early but they were blocked from entering the court premises by private gunmen (hired by Mian Mithoo) with heavy artillery as seen in the pictures and video clips on different Tv channels. In the video clip below Ayaz Latif  Palijo Protesting against forced Religion conversion The language of the Bolta Pakistan program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: ARY News Tv » (Bolta Pakistan with Nusrat Javed, Mustaq Minhas and Ayaz Latif Palijo, March 06, 2012)

Rinkle chose or forced to be Faryal?

By Qazi Asif

Hindu protesters demand justice for 17-year-old girl, who they believe was forcefully converted to Islam, Blame PPP MNA Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho for her ‘abduction

KARACHI – A sizable crowd of Hindu protesters gathered outside the Karachi Press Club on Sunday, demanding justice for a 17-year-old Hindu girl from Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki district, Rinkle Kumari, who was allegedly abducted forcefully converted to Islam and renamed Faryal.

The relatives of the girl, who were among the protesters, blame one man for her alleged predicament – Pakistan People’s Party MNA Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho, who is also the spiritual leader of Bharchundi Sharif in Daharki.

The girl’s relatives claimed that the girl fell in love with her neighbour Naveed Shah, whose friend Hussam Kalwar is a supporter of the MNA.

Kalwar, a criminal, has been arrested several times but always manages to get released due to his ties to the influential MNA.

Giving details about the night when Kumari was “abducted”, her uncle, Daya Ram, said in the early hours of February 24 this year, Kumari was supposed to meet Naveed Shah, believing that he would be alone. But Shah was not alone and accompanied by armed men, who abducted her and took her to Bharchundi Sharif, where she was forcefully converted to Islam.

“She did not leave home out of free will. If she had, why was one of her shoes at the home’s entrance and her dupatta outside? She was kidnapped by armed men, who barged into the home,” Ram told Pakistan Today.

He further said on the morning of February 24, he reached the Mirpur Mathelo police station and had an FIR registered against Naveed Shah.

On the same day at 1 pm, Kumari’s family received a phone call from MNA Haq’s son Mian Aslam Shah, who told them that if they wish to meet the girl, they should come to his residence.

However, Ram claimed, the family told him that they do not wish to meet her at his residence and would instead want her brought to the DSP’s office or the Hindu Panchayat Hall, where she can talk with them freely. However, both these options were rejected.

Ram said the next day, Kumari’s family was told that they can meet the girl at the Ghotki DSP’s office, but they would have to come along with Jeay Sindh Mahaz Chairman Riaz Chandio.

When Chandio and the girl’s family entered the office of the DSP, they saw that Mian Shaman, the brother of the PPP MNA, was seated on the chair of the DSP. The family again refused to talk with the girl in Shaman’s presence and was again given an option that they can meet her in the presence of Naveed Shah. The family did not accept the offer and went to the Ghotki civil judge.

The first time Kumari met her family after the “abduction” was in the court. She told her family in the presence of counsels from both sides that she was kidnapped. “Some people entered our home and kidnapped me. I did not want to leave with Naveed Shah,” Kumari’s uncle quoted her as saying.

At that moment, Ram said, Naveed Shah fainted and the judge, instead of letting the recording of her statement complete, remanded Kumari to police custody for two days.

“At the Sukkur police station, a policewoman handed her a cell phone on which she was threatened that if she did not change her statement, she and her relatives will be killed and the property of all Hindus in the area will be demolished,” Ram claimed.

“When Rinkle was brought to the court again, she was confused and upset and asked us to forgive her and allow her to sacrifice herself for our sake,” he added.

He said on February 26, President Asif Ali Zardari took notice of the incident and police again “kidnapped” Kumari and at 2 pm, she was shifted to Mirpur Mathelo from Sukkur.

On February 27, the day when Kumari had to appear in the court again, all routes to the court were blocked, but not for the “fanatic” followers of the MNA.

If Rinkle was acting out of her own will, then why was she surrounded by armed men at the court?” Daya Rama questioned.

During the second hearing, Kumari gave a statement in favour of Naveed Shah and the court ordered her to be given into his custody.

In response to the family’s allegations, MNA Haq’s son Mian Aslam Shah has claimed that the couple had come to him seeking help and the girl wanted to convert to Islam so she could marry Shah.

MPA Petamber Sehwani, during the Sindh Assembly session on February 29, said Hindus’ daughters are being kidnapped and boys killed. “They are being forced to leave Sindh. But I want to make it clear that the Hindus of Sindh will not leave their motherland. Do not push us to the wall,” he said.

The pirs or spiritual leaders of Bharchundi Sharif have a history of religious extremism. On November 2, 1939, a famous Hindu Sufi singer Bhagat Kanwar Ram was killed in a train while travelling to Sukkur. The FIR of the murder was registered against MNA Haq’s father, Mian Abdul Rahim and his two followers.

Courtesy: Pakistan Toady

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Courtesy: Geo Tv » YouTube

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BBC urdu Reporting What exactly happened » Click here