Tag Archives: Rinkel

Another February 24

By Amar Sindu

Today is February 24. Last year, on the same date, Rinkle was picked up from her house. Her house was left in a state that suggested that a burglary had occurred and valuables were stolen. Her dupatta and her chappals were left lying on the doorstep.

When she was first presented in a court in Mirpur Mathelo, she requested to be returned to her parents. The court, instead of listening to her, replied that she ‘was confused’ and therefore, should spend time reconsidering the predicament and handed her back to her abductors. It was as if the court was confused itself.

She was presented in court again on Feb 28, where, in her statement, she recited the kalma and became ‘Faryal Bibi’ from Rinkle. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. Her conversion to Islam was greeted by aerial firing by her captors who had brought her to court surrounded by armed guards. This was a new victory for them.

‘Faryal Bibi’ was then taken to Dargah Bharchondi’s seat-bearer and PPP’s Mian Mithu, while the gunfire echoed across the town. She was his guest and was taken to and from court surrounded by his guards. Actually, this victory was not the only feather in the dargah’s cap. The dargah’s deeds, ranging from the Manzalgah mosque that became famous for its role during the pre-Partition communal riots in Sindh to the assassination of the singer Bhagat Kunwar Ram of the Hindu faith, were oft repeated. The dargah commonly converted non-Muslims to Islam before the Partition and this exercise continues steadily today.

Continue reading Another February 24

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.”

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

Justce For Rinkel, Justice For SINDH

A Sindhi Saga: The Abduction of Our Daughters

By: Viju Sidhwani

Hindus have remained a minority in Pakistan since the creation of the country in 1947 when India was partitioned into two separate countries: a new India and Pakistan. Since its inception Pakistan has struggled with supporting a democratic government from being overtaken by a military dictatorship, sectarian violence, and harsh treatment of its minorities including Hindus, Shias, Christians, Sikhs, and several other communities.

In particular Hindus in Pakistan have experienced harsh and severely inhumane living conditions. Kidnappings, physical and psychological torture, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced marriages of young Hindu girls to Muslim men, lack of police protection, bonded labor, and religious-based discrimination have become the norm for Hindus who involuntarily became citizens of the newly created Islamic Republic in 1947. Of late the rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan has created a viciously hostile environment, choking Hindus and other minorities of their basic rights to live in the land of their forefathers.

Continue reading Justce For Rinkel, Justice For SINDH

A serious threat to the existence of Sindh and Sindhi Nation

By: D. K. Ratnani

Please read my below given details very carefully & I would like to highly recommend to office bearer of World Sindhi Congress (WSC) , World Sindhi Institute (WSI) & specially to Sindhi Association of North America (SANA), please include this important issue / topic in our agenda for upcoming SANA convention in New York to highlight this conspiracy against the people of Sindh.

News from Sindh says that NADRA have received over 15000 applications of Sindhi Hindus for their new passports.

Mean time Indian embassy have confirmed that over 5000 Sindhi Hindus have applied for Indian Visa’s.

There are hundreds of Sindhi Hindu families, who already carried Pakistani passport has migrated to India.

This is the result of FORCED CONVERSION OF SINDHI HINDU GIRLS.

Fanatics and Criminals like MIA Mithu has created this situation with FULL Support of Criminals,

This is A very Alarming Situation, Sindhi Hindus are Secular and The Real sons of Sindh.

Sindh has Suffered a lot after their forced migration in 1947 planed riots against Hindus in Karachi by the immigrants who had came from India.

IN THE RESULT DEMOGRAPHY OF SINDH HAS BEEN CHANGED BADLY.

IF WE DON’T STAND UP AND STOP THE HANDS OF ANTI HINDU CRIMINALS AND FANATIC’S!! than;

ALLA’A EEA’N M’A THEEAY JOU KITAA’B’N MEIN LIKHJEY,

TA HUWEE SINDH AIN SINDH WAR’N JEE BOLLEE!!

Sindhi Media and Civil Society MUST play their historical role to STOP crimes against Sindhi Hindus.

This is a Serious threat to the existence of Sindh and Sindhi Nation.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 31 May 2012

Pakistani Christians, Hindus, Sindhis and Shias Protest Against the Chief Justice of Pakistan in London

London: Lunch-time on the 28th of May 2012 the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry received a vocal reception at the hands of the protesters gathered outside the award giving ceremony of the International Council of Jurists (ICJ). Ironically Justice Chaudhry is himself the vice president of ICJ.

Zee News reported, “Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ha[s] been awarded the prestigious International Jurists Award 2012. Justice Chaudhry received the award from Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court of the UK, for his “unique and tremendous contribution in the field of administration of justice and for the tireless and fearless endeavours towards administration of justice in Pakistan against all odds.”

Shortly before Justice Chaudhry received the award, two persons barged into the auditorium at the Hotel Court House raising slogans against killings of Shias in Pakistan.”

While outside a large demonstration by Sindhi, Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Human Rights organizations was taking place against forced conversions of Hindu and Christian girls in Pakistan. The protesters were chanting loud slogans against Justice Chaudhry ’s role in handing over the Hindu girls to their Muslim ‘husbands’ whereas their families allege that all three girls were abducted on the orders of the influential custodian of a Muslim shrine Mian Abdul Haq-Member National Assembly for the ruling PPP.

Christian groups pointed out the lack of justice in Pakistani courts for scores of victims languishing in jails under trumped-up charges under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws which carry the punishment of death penalty. The protesters were allowed to speak to the organizers of the event. ….

Read more » Global Christian Voice

http://globalchristianvoice.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/pakistani-christians-hindus-sindhis-and-shias-protest-against-the-chief-justice-of-pakistan-in-london/

Sindhis, Baloch rally outside 10 Downing Street

By Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: Members of the Sindhi, Hindu and Baloch rights organisations held a demonstration in front of 10 Downing Street, the residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron, protesting the alleged kidnapping and forced marriages of Hindu girls in Sindh and against the Lyari operation.

Members of the World Sindhi Congress and International Sindhi Women Organisation (ISWO) were joined by Baloch and Hindu groups.In a petition submitted to the office of the British prime minister, the demonstrators urged the British Government to intervene in the matter as the Pakistani government was showing “apathy” on the issue.

Continue reading Sindhis, Baloch rally outside 10 Downing Street

Forced faith or force of faith?

By: Waris Husain

Excerpt;

…… When the decision by the Pakistani Supreme Court was released, a commentator on twitter noted that Rinkle Kumari, one of the three females in the case, was showing signs of Stockholm Syndrome. Neither the commentator nor I have the credentials to administer a psychological diagnosis to Ms. Kumari, now known as Faryal Bibi. However, let us think of the hundreds of other cases that have existed throughout Pakistan’s history where Hindus, Sikhs, or Christians were converted against their will.

Stockholm Syndrome has been described as a condition where an individual is abducted or kidnapped, and begins to empathise with their captor to the point that they defend their actions. In evolutionary psychology, theories have been developed that explain the evolutionary benefit of the Syndrome. When humans lived in hunter gatherer societies, clans of men would continually fight one another, and women would be taken as “victory prizes.” The women who protested their capture were regularly killed, while the ones who adjusted to life with their brutal captors survived.

Therefore, one should examine the case of religious minorities in Pakistan from this brutal, archaic, and outdated perspective. Potential converts are born into a society that subjects them to massive social and institutional discrimination, for public services and employment. Non-Muslims have been subject to murder, rape, or beatings merely for simply being born to a different religion in a nation where the right to spread Islam is more protected than the right of minorities to live in peace. In this environment, when a woman, child, or minority is converted to Islam, they could likely develop Stockholm Syndrome and embrace their new faith as an instinct to survive in a brutal society.

This raises a question that should be asked to the ‘gairatmand.’ Is the benefit of forcibly converting one individual to Islam worth jeopardising the validity of all the converts to their faith? Many say that the justice system is flawed if it mistakenly punishes one man, even when it rightfully punishes thousands. In that light, does the forced conversion of one soul not call into question the thousands of others that may have converted voluntarily?

There should be no societal benefit for belonging to the majority religion, just as there should be no detriment for being a minority. Therefore, one hopes that Parliament can address the societal discrimination at the heart of this issue by passing appropriate legislation. This legislation could thereafter be utilised and enforced through the Court. The Pakistani Constitution recognises the right to religion as fundamental, and despite contradictory laws that discriminate against minorities, a legislation is required to fairly deal with forcible conversions.

Read more » DAWN.COM

Asking for justice in this state of Pakistan is futile

By: Ahmed Makhdoom

The day this valiant, verdant and vibrant son of Mother Sindh, STOOD UP and walked tall on the streets of the capital of Sindh-Karachi with his head held high along with over a million Sindhi compatriots and, loud and clear, announced the struggle for the Freedom and Independence of Sindh, we knew that THEY, the murderers, the deep dark devil security agencies of establishment who are not letting this country to be welfare state,  will not leave him alive!

After the brutal murders of thousands of Bangalis, Sindhis and Balochs by these evil forces of the history; Sindhis ought to have learnt the bitter lessons and should have get ready to protect the lives of their beloved leaders! The day we heard that this brave and courageous leader of Sindh is no more with us, we knew that it is not a natural death, we knew, at once, that the evil devils of the security establishment had silenced this roaring voice of the Sindh!

Therefore, what the medical board and post-martum / autopsy reports telling us are nothing new! Instead, tell us: “Now what the nation of Sindh is going to do?” Scream for Justice? No way! Has thousands of Balochs and Sindhis, who have been brutally massacred, got their justice! Did Zulfiqar Bhutto get justice? Did Benazir Bhutto get justice? Did Nawab Akbar Bugti get justice? Did Baalaach Marri get justice? Did Rinkal Kumar get justice? Appeals to the International Human Rights organisations, Courts of Justice and United Nations, I am Sorry to say, will never work!

Justice for Sindh in this strong centralized state of security establishment? Again, no way! All these so-called Avenues for “justice” are under the tutelage and servitude the Super Powers and these powerful nations need this sub-subservient rent a army, for their own designs! Bashir Qureshi, who gave life for the people of Sindh, will never receive justice! Justice has to be FOUGHT not asked in this security state of brutal agencies.

Continue reading Asking for justice in this state of Pakistan is futile

Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

After decades of turning a blind eye, the government seems helpless in the face of attacks on Shias and other minorities

By: Mustafa Qadri

While banned political groups preach hatred towards religious minorities in Pakistan’s major cities, a conflict along sectarian lines is spreading across the country, even to areas not previously associated with violence. Having spent decades turning a blind eye to the calculated violence of groups with a clear agenda based on hatred and intolerance, Pakistan’s government appears helpless in the face of continuous attacks on Shia Muslims and other minorities.

Sectarian attacks are not new in Pakistan, but there has been an upsurge, especially in Balochistan since at least 2010, in the Khurram and Orakzai tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan, the port city of Karachi and across the Punjab. Now the frosty, picturesque mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the northern border with China, are seeing an increasingly violent sectarian conflict pitting Muslim Sunnis against Shias.

Continue reading Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

Apex Court of Pakistan Judges or Islamic Clerics in enforcedly converted Hindu and Christian girls’ case

Islamabad: April 18, 2012. (PCP) Eyes of Human right activists around globe were on Supreme Court of Pakistan hearing of a case today of forced conversion of Hindu girl Rinkle Kumari and others to Islam but unfortunately Division Bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan not bothered to listen victimized girls and ordered police to present them before Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan to record their statement and to go with parents or with Muslim husbands.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvezhad ordered to send Hindu women Rinkle Kumari, Dr. Lata and Asha Kumari to Shelter in last hearing on March 26, 2012, when they were crying “We want to go with our parents and begged that their life is in danger”

It surprised Human Right activists that why Judges ordered to send Hindu women in Shelter when in camera session and later in open court hearing of March 26, 2012, they begged Division Bench Judges to allow them to go with their parents?

It was already feared that in Shelters the Hindu girls will be threatened and blocked to unite with their families.

In today’s hearing by SC Bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary not permitted to speak victim Hindu girls but gave them in police custody to record their statement with registrar.

The Three Hindu women in police custody who were all Muslim women and men police officer walked to the Registrar office of Supreme Court of Pakistan and under police presence expressed their consent to go with their Muslim husbands.

The forced converted Hindu girls were in Shelter for three weeks where all staff was Muslim, the officer who escorted them from Shelter to Supreme Court building were all Muslims and to office of Registrar escorting officers were also all Muslims.

How a Muslim cannot put pressure on a convert to Islam who has openly demanded to go with her Hindu Parents when a Muslim has religious faith that to convert to infidels is their ticket to heaven? The Supreme Court of Pakistan Judges as a Muslim also were aware of such belief of Muslims as citizens of Islamic Republic of Pakistan but not bothered to hold open court hearing or camera session on hearing of April 18, 2012, and ordered a Muslim Registrar of Supreme Court of Pakistan to record their statements.

Continue reading Apex Court of Pakistan Judges or Islamic Clerics in enforcedly converted Hindu and Christian girls’ case

Forced conversions: As leftists protest, ST takes offence

By Sameer Mandhro / Z Ali

KARACHI / HYDERABAD: Supporters of the leftist coalition group, the Sindh Progressive Committee, had a run-in with the Barelvi religious-political party Sunni Tehreek at the Hyderabad Press Club on Tuesday, resulting in the police hauling in almost two dozen activists.

The Sunni Tehreek had been protesting the recent spate of violence in Karachi and had wrapped up the event. The Sindh Progressive Committee (SPC), which comprises the Workers Party, Labour Party, Communist Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, National Party, Awami Party and Watan Dost Inquilaabi Party, held a protest outside the press club against forced conversions and religious extremism.

The fight reportedly started as the Sunni Tehreek supporters alleged that attendees at the SPC’s event had beaten up a man who had stopped them from chanting slogans that they alleged were against religion.

Sunni Tehreek’s protestors went back to the press club and the fight forced SPC event attendees to hide inside the club as the Sunni Tehreek men threw stones and chanted slogans against them. While some female SPC leaders including Professor Arfana Mallah and Sindh University lecturer and activist Amar Sindhu managed to escape, the police cordoned off the area around the press club and rescued the rest. While they had assumed the police would release them, they were sent to the Cantonment Police Station.

The Sunni Tehreek’s Abid Qadri alleged that the SPC had “attacked our man first” and “used abusive language”. Arfana Mallah said their protest was peaceful but they had been attacked by the Sunni Tehreek, who brought “weapons, stones and sticks” and “forced us not to chant slogans”.

According to the police, 23 men from the Sindh Progressive Committee were arrested. The Sunni Tehreek’s Hyderabad General Secretary Muhammad Yaseen Qadri registered a First Information Report (FIR) under sections 148, 147 and 149. Even though the FIR mentions 60 people, only three are mentioned by name – Comrade Iqbal, Allah Bux and Bakhshal Thallo. The Sunni Tehreek and SPC have both claimed their supporters were injured.

At the SPC’s protest in Karachi, activists demanded that Rinkle Kumari and Asha Kumari, the two women who have drawn attention to the rise of Hindu conversions in Sindh, be handed over to their parents. They chanted slogans against landlords, clerics, army generals and extremists and asked that the government separate religion from matters of the state.

Speakers included Yousuf Masti Khan, Nasir Mansoor, Jan Muhammad Buledi, Usman Baloch, Mehnaz Rehman, Comrade Iqbal and Abdul Khaliq Junejo. “We don’t support a state that promotes religious extremism and stifles the environment for other religions. Every man is free in this country and has the right to move freely and perform his religious rituals,” said Usman Baloch.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/366193/forced-conversions-as-leftists-protest-st-takes-offence/

ATTACK ON SINDH PROGRESSIVE COMMITTEE (SPC) DEMO AGAINST RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM

Hyderabad: The religious extremists show up to throw stones and beat peaceful protestors including children and women and the police arrests the peaceful progressive demonstrators of civil society demanding basic rights for women and Hindus as citizens of Pakistan. They are charging the civil society activists with blasphemy to terrorize them! Sindh is indeed suffering a brutal occupation that turns more tragic and farcical by the day. The following report of the rally to protests forced conversion and kidnapping of Hindu girls by an alliance of Sindhi civil society.

According to the reports, Sunni Tehreek’s extremists came with pick up’s loaded with Stones and attacked the peaceful Rally. Some of the injured were Girls & children. Police arrested civil society leaders Taj Marri, along with his Daughter Paras, renowned leftist intellectual, thinker, writer and activists Bakhshal Thalou and many other activists of civil society . Religious fundamentalists tried to put Hyderabad Press club on fire, and latter GOR Colony police Station was attacked by them. Several hundreds Students of Sindh University came to defend the civil society rally against the religious fundamentalism. Women Action Forum Leaders Arfana Mallah and Amar Sindhu who were in rally tried to dissuade the fanatics, but they insisted on registering charges of TOHEEN-E-RISALAT [blasphemy, a capital offense in Pakistan] against arrested leaders of Sindhi civil society.

According to some informed journalists a secret service agency is working on to create a rift between the People of Sindh and wants to start Hindu- Muslim riots and force the Sindhi Hindu’s to leave Sindh and to put Sindhis in minority in their own motherland. After the pressure of civil society, Women Action Forum’s leader Arfana Mallah and Taj Marri were freed from the lockup of GOR Colony Police Station, Hyderabad, Pakistan.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups 17 April 2012 + facebook

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More » BBC urdu

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

What kind of justice is this?

By: From the facebook wall of Aziz Narejo

Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman” The words of Rinkal Kumari: “Everyone in Pakistan is hand in glove, there is justice only for Muslims, there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman, all these people are hand in glove, they will kill us”.

Even after repeated pleas by Rinkal Kumari & her parents, the court didn’t allow her to go with her parents. Instead the court sent her to shelter home in Karachi where she said that she faces threat to her life. What kind of justice is this?

Who will be responsible now if something happens to her? I think the Chief Justice & the other two members of the bench should be held directly responsible if something happens to her. A direct FIR should be registered against them in case something happens to Rinkal Kumari.

After Rinkal Kumari’s statement in the Supreme Court today & her cries to go with her parents, it is established beyond any doubt that she is separated from her family against her will & that she had been kidnapped & forcibly converted to Islam. Now it is the duty of the govt & the Supreme Court to immediately order the arrest of kidnapper Naveed Shah, his accomplices, MNA Mian Mithoo, Mithoo’s family members & armed men who harassed a Sindhi Hindu girl.

Shame on those Sindhis & Pakistanis who still support Mian Mithoo brand of forced conversion to Islam of non-Muslim girls.

The Supreme Court should immediately order a complete inquiry in the case & punish all the culprits.

Courtesy: Aziz Narejo’s facebook wall.

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

Is this justice??

By Beena Sarwar

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered Rinkal Kumari and Dr Lata Kumari to be sent back to Karachi shelter home for 3 weeks to give them time to “think”. Would he have done that if they had given statements in favour of their kidnappers?

Here is the account from a family friend of Rinkal’s” “When Rinkal came into court, without letting her meet her parents/mother, she (Rinkal) was brought to give statement in front of CJP, she only stated that she doesn’t want to go anywhere, BUT her mother. Then CJP met with Rinkal alone for about 20 minutes, and then let her mother meet her for only 10 minutes. Afterwards Rinkal was crying before CJP, she wanted to go to her parents. CJP said, girl wants to go with her parents but there is confusion as the girl had embraced ISLAM and had spent married life, so how can she turn around from her previous statement? Therefore, he ordered Rinkal to be sent to shelter home for more 3 weeks to think, along with Dr. Lata, who was sent to Shelter home on same grounds. Is this justice?? Chief justice should have backed innocent girls, supported them and should have ordered immense and appropriate action against Mullah and involved culprits, BUT after all he is a Muslim as well, he has intentions to book a plot in heaven as well…”

Rinkal Kumari said in court:..” Pakistan mein sab log ek doosre ke saath mile huwe hain, yahan insaaaf sirf muslaman ke lye hai, Hindu ke lye koi insaaf nahee hai, mujhe yaheen court room mein maar daalo, lekin Dar-ul-aman nahee bhejo, yeh sab log mile huwe hain yeh humein maar daalen ge“. Translation: (Everyone in Pakistan is hand in glove, there is justice only for Muslims, there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman, all these people are hand in glove, they will kill us) – KTN news channel live reporting captured on a personal camera – the reporter repeats Rinkals words quote-un-quote.

Courtesy: Adopted from Beena Sarwar’s facebook page

Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if the Hindus leave they can take their properties

Pakistan supreme court to decide fate of Hindu woman in Muslim marriage row

Rinkle Kumari, 19, claims she was kidnapped, converted to Islam and married against her will

By Jon Boone in Islamabad

The fate of a Pakistani Hindu woman who claims she was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will is to be decided this week, after weeks of campaigning by the country’s Hindu minority.

The case of 19-year-old Rinkle Kumari has outraged Hindus from her small town in the south of the country, where community leaders accuse Muslims of preying on Hindu girls of marriageable age.

Continue reading Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if the Hindus leave they can take their properties

Pakistan – Minister for Inter faith harmony says around 100 forced conversions of girls from minority communities

Harmony minister speaks out: Gill wants tougher legislation against forced conversion

By Qaiser Butt

ISLAMABAD: The minister for national harmony has alleged that about 100 non-Muslims, mostly Hindus girls, were forced to convert to Islam in recent months. The minister, Akram Masih Gill, told The Express Tribune that stronger legislation was required to protect minorities from forced conversions. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

ACTION ALERT: Plight of Rinkel Kumari – Please help!)))))))

Hindus in Pakistan have experienced harsh, brutal, and severely inhumane living conditions since the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Kidnappings, physical and psychological torture, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced marriages of young Hindu girls to Muslim men, lack of police protection, bonded labor, and religious-based discrimination has become the norm for our Hindu brothers and sisters who chose not to leave Sindh after the partition of India. Of late the rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan has created a viciously hostile environment, choking Hindus of their basic rights to live in the land of their forefathers.

Many of you may have heard about the case of Rinkel Kumari, a teen Hindu girl from the town of Mirpur Mathelo who was kidnapped on February 24, 2012. Rinkel’s case is quickly gaining media attention in Pakistan and around the world – not because it is shockingly rare – but because it is one of several recent cases in which young Hindu girls were kidnapped, tortured, forcibly converted to Islam under the mandate of a Mullah, and immediately forced to marry a Muslim man. Notably, the man behind Rinkel’s abduction – Mian Abdul Haq (aka Mian Mithu) – is a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Her abduction by a MNA of the ruling political party in Pakistan clearly highlights a case of state-sponsored terrorism. Moreover, the same week Rinkel was kidnapped three other Hindu girls were kidnapped and underwent the same harassment, conversion, and forced marriage including a physician who worked at a prestigious hospital in Karachi. The female physician, Dr. Lata, was forcibly married to a Muslim man who already kidnapped and converted 5 Hindu wives previously. Since Rinkel was kidnapped just over two weeks ago dozens of other Hindu girls in Sindh have been either kidnapped or are reported missing.

Continue reading ACTION ALERT: Plight of Rinkel Kumari – Please help!)))))))

Threatened Hindu girls to be moved to Islamabad

By Zahid Gishkori

ISLAMABAD: A National Assembly panel directed on Friday the Sindh police to shift two Hindu girls to Islamabad for protection against severe threats to their lives at the Panah Shelter Home in Karachi.

The panel gave the directions after the Sindh police expressed concern over the security for Rinkle (now, Faryal Bibi) and Lata Kumari, who were allegedly abducted and forced to get marry after embracing Islam.

Both girls will be shifted to Islamabad via the first flight available on the Pakistan International Airlines on Monday, according to the chairperson of the National Assembly Standing on Human Rights, Riaz Fatyana.

“I have directed the Sindh police to shift the girls to Islamabad for better security,” Fatyana told The Express Tribune.

Additional IG Police Sindh Falak Khurshid informed the panel that both girls were forcibly abducted ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Forced conversion of Hindus in Pakistan jolts US out of slumber

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad’s depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.

In a sharply-worded letter to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Congressman Brad Sherman urged him to take action to ensure the return of Rinkel Kumari to her family, pursuant to reports that she had been abducted with the help of a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker. In a case that has been widely reported in the liberal Pakistani media, Rinkel, who was abducted on February 24, was forced to marry one Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

She was subsequently produced before a civil judge twice, but she was reportedly coerced into claiming that she had converted on her own will, even as her family was denied access to her in kangaroo court proceedings that revealed in video clips to be led by a frenzied mob of zealots, including armed followers of the Pakistani lawmaker. According to Pakistani civil liberties activists in Washington DC, Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

”Rinkel Kumari’s case is just one case of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan,” Congressman Sherman said in the letter to Zardari, citing the Asian Human Rights commission figure of 20-25 kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh every month. ”I urge you to take all necessary steps to bring an end to this practice and other harassment of Hindus in Pakistan.”

The Rinkel Kumari case was brought to the attention of US lawmakers not by Hindu activists but by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC), a lobby group that, like the Baloch groups, is increasingly asserting the secular and syncretic identity of Pakistan’s Sindhi community in the face of growing Islamization in the country. Sapac activists are telling US lawmakers that state sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant and is causing Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan in droves.

Hindus, who constituted more than 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population soon after Partition, have now dwindled to less than two per cent, mostly in some districts of Sindh. There have been several reports in recent months of Hindu families seeking to migrate to India in the face of growing radical Islamization of Pakistan, including abduction and forcible conversions, but it is the first time that Washington, which literally slept over Pakistan’s genocide of Bengalis in 1970-71, is paying attention to the issue.

US interest in the Rinkel Kumari case comes close on the heels of sudden support in Congress for Baloch self-determination, an effort led by California lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher. That effort has rattled Islamabad to the extent that it has told American interlocutors that Pakistan-US ties will be deeply affected if Washington interfered in Balochistan, even though the Obama administration has clarified that support for an independent Balochistan is confined to the Hill, where lawmakers are free to introduce any legislation they deem appropriate. That in turn resulted in Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.,, writing to House Speaker John Boehner, expressing deep concern over Congressional action on Balochistan.

Courtesy: TOI

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

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