Tag Archives: Dalit

PAKISTAN: Two young scheduled caste Hindu women were raped by Muslim landlords; one of them was later murdered

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION -Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-150-2013

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that two scheduled caste, Hindu women were raped by their Muslim landlords before their family members. Later on, one of them was murdered in revenge for making a report to the police. She and her mother were abducted by one of the landlords from outside the clinic of a doctor in broad daylight, close to the police station, and she was shot dead in front of her mother. The Shadi Pali Police Station of Umer Kot district, Sindh, took time to register the First Information Report (FIR) in order to give the rapists time to abscond. The family members of the victims are displaced from their village and are living on the roadside in the cold nights but the police and authorities have refused to help them. In providing protection to the rapists, the police and notables of the area forced the victims to reach to a settlement and give amnesty to the rapists. Once again the police have shown their efficiency to get approval from judicial magistrate so that perpetrators are freed.

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Dalit women in Pakistan – denied a life in dignity and respect

A new report documents the situation of Pakistan’s Dalit women; one of the most socially excluded and impoverished sections of the population. The shadow report for a UN CEDAW review of Pakistan in February calls on the Government to focus on education, access to basic services, and laws and special programmes to protect the rights of Dalit women.

For the first time, a report to a UN treaty body committee specifically addresses the situation of Dalit women in Pakistan. The report finds that these women are triple victims of discrimination – due to caste, gender and religion.

The report ‘SCHEDULED CASTE WOMEN IN PAKISTAN – Denied a life in dignity and respect’ has been prepared by the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network in association with IDSN for the examination of Pakistan by the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The review is scheduled to take place in Geneva on 12 February 2013.

In Pakistan, Dalits (officially known as ‘scheduled castes’) experience multiple forms of discrimination among the country’s 180 million people. Already considered a religious minority in an Islamic society, Dalit Hindus and Christians are further victimized as ‘untouchable’ by the rest of the society and their own communities.

The situation of Dalit women is even worse due to the discrimination they face on the basis of caste and gender. They are extremely vulnerable to social exclusion, and are often subject to severe discrimination and physical assaults.

Dalit women are marginalised due to their weak socio-economic status, low education levels, and their location in harsh conditions of work – such as bonded labour, cotton picking and working in brick kilns. In the rural provinces of Pakistan, the majority of bonded labourers come from a scheduled caste background. Rape of female bonded labourers is widespread, and there is little legal recourse to address the problem.

Sexual abuse and kidnappings are some of the worst problems for Dalit women and girls in Pakistan. Ms. Radha Bhil, a Dalit woman working as a social mobilizer, says: “Women and girls from the lower caste or religious minority are easy targets for harassment, because the majority knows that they are weak and cannot take any action.”

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Khursheed Qaimkhani – A True Son of Sindh

khursheed-kaimkhaniBy: Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX

Let’s mourn the death of one more of the true sons of Sindh. Khursheed Qaimkhani, an established humanist, anthropologist and writer, died a couple of days back and was laid to rest in Tando Allahyar. Khursheed Qaimkhani, a senior army major, had resigned from the military as a protest when the military started the sanguinary operation against Bengalis, losing all his pension and benefits. After leaving the army, he devoted his life to the cause of the underdog, especially the scheduled caste (Dalit) classes of Sind.

Even though he acquired name, fame and acclaim writing in English and Urdu as well as Sindhi – being an established author of many books – He was a great Sind-loving Urdu-speaking Sindhi, therefore, in his later days he started to write for Sindhi newspapers exclusively, saying that even though he felt like he had achieved what he had to achieve, in writing in Sindhi he was trying to payback the debt Mother Sindh had on him.

Khursheed was not born in Sindh but he proved himself in his writings and his actions to be a true son of the soil.  His writings had a romantic aura about them and I felt entranced while reading him. I hope someone will put all his Sindhi columns together and publish them in a book.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, January 11, 2013.

International Dalit Soliderity report 2011 – Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has been instrumental in raising public awareness of caste discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 and creating a stir in the media. Media reports on caste discrimination have included issues such as bonded labour, untouchability, kidnapping and forced conversions of Dalits.

Media have also reported widely on discrimination in flood relief work in Pakistan following new monsoon rains, causing one of recent history’s worst disasters. Dalit communities were denied access to relief camps because of their caste and were forced to live under the open sky. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits in the on-going flood relief work saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste is unacceptable. Nonetheless the discrimination continued throughout 2011. PDSN has worked to support Dalit victims of the flooding and bring their plight to the attention of authorities, International NGOs and agencies involved in relief operations.

2011 also saw an increased visibility of Dalit women in Pakistan and Ms. Kalavanti Raja joined PDSN as Coordinator of the women’s wing of the network. Ms. Raja participated in several events, including the Dalit Women’s conference in Kathmandu, a South Asian Dalit conference in Bangladesh, and the IDSN International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination and council meeting in Nepal, where PDSN Coordinators also took part. She spoke at several events and monitored Pakistani media attention to the issue of caste discrimination, with regular updates to IDSN on the situation.

Jinnah Institute, a think tank working on minority issues, released a report in 2011 highlighting caste discrimination in Pakistan. According to the report the vast majority of Dalits in Pakistan do not own lands and work on daily wages, a consequence of them not having any permanent settlement. The report said, “One day, they are with one landlord, the next day with another. And this is how they spend a life of debt, with no accountability or education.” Their castes have translated into daily life. For instance, Dalits may be restricted to separate water wells in school, “from which also Muslims will not drink.” Dalits working in bonded labour continues to be a central issue in Pakistan. They are often forced to work under terrible conditions in what has been deemed ‘modern slavery’ with no view to ever repaying their debts. This form of slavery is particularly prevalent in the agricultural sector, construction work, mining and textile industries.

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Poonam, a Hindu girl, was abducted to be forcefully ‘converted to Islam’

13-year-old Hindu Dalit girl abducted, forcibly converted to Islam …

Karachi, Sept 11 (ANI): An incident involving forced religious conversion of a 13-year-old Hindu girl belonging to a Dalit community has surfaced in Lyari Town of Pakistan.

The girl- Poonam- was kidnapped from the neighbourhood in Lyari Town on Wednesday, and the neighbours informed her family of her presence at a Madrassa in the town, the Daily Times quoted the girl’s uncle, Bhanwroo, as saying.

He said that when the family went to the Madrassa, they found out that “she was very scared and under the influence of maulvis. She told us they will not let her go, so she will stay with them as a Muslim.”

The family tried to lodge an FIR of kidnapping at Chakiwara Police Station, but the policemen refused to register the case.

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Dalit dog – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

A distinction should be made between feudalism as an economic phenomenon and feudal culture, which can retain its grip for a very long time; the feudal culture can survive or take other forms long after the economic base has been changed from feudalism to industrialisation

According to a BBC report, in Madhya Pradesh, India, a dog named Shero was thrown out by his owner, Amrat Lal, because he was fed by a Dalit (untouchable) woman, Sunita. Further, the donating Dalit was fined Rs 15,000 by the village panchayat (court) for feeding the dog of a higher caste Rajput Hindu. Now the poor dog has been left tied to a tree in a predominantly Dalit area and Ms Sunita has lodged a complaint in the police station against the village court and the matter is being handled by the authorities. …

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Dalit women face multiple forms of discrimination in South Asia

Kalavanti Raja is the first Dalit woman in Pakistan to receive a master’s degree.

Kalavanti Raja of Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network described the plight of Pakistani Dalit women, whose caste (“untouchable”), religion (Hindu) and gender make them most vulnerable to all kinds of injustices in a Muslim society. They are frequent victims of brutality and sexual violence but no cases are filed against the perpetrators because all law enforcing agencies in Pakistan are controlled by “feudal lords who kill their own women in the name of honor”.

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PAKISTAN: A Hindu teenager is told to marry her alleged rapist; police and courts fail to act

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that four men who allegedly assisted in the rape of a young Hindu girl have been granted pre-arrest bail by a session court. Rape is a non-bailable offense in Pakistan and this is against criminal procedure and the law. Attempts by the family to file an FIR and obtain a medical report have been obstructed by local police, who later arrested the victim’s father on a false offense. Meanwhile members of an illegal tribal court have reportedly proposed that the victim marry her rapist and convert to Islam. She has threatened public self immolation if the perpetrators are not arrested and brought to justice by the authorities….

The AHRC received frequent reports of forced marriages of minority girls with Muslim men in areas along the Indian borders that have large Dalit Hindu populations, such as Thar Parker, Nagar Parker, Umer Kot, Mithi and Karoonjhar. The term Dalits are members of a scheduled caste, and due to the position of many as bonded labourers, female Dalits are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is not unknown for Muslim seminaries to urge the forced conversion of Dalit women.

The AHRC has documented several such cases, including UA-008-2006 and UG-020-2006 and is aware of many more, in which Hindu scheduled caste and Christian women and girls have been abducted by Muslim men and raped. When confronted by the authorities perpetrators are often able to produce a marriage certificate from a seminary confirming the marriage and conversion of the victim. The girls are often taken out of contact with their families entirely, and various cases have been documented in which the courts have condoned such marriages with girls below the age of consent.

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-027- 2010