Kidnapped Hindu women brought to Karachi -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Kidnapped Hindu women brought to Karachi

KARACHI- Three Hindu women from the Bheel community, who were reportedly kidnapped from Gumbat, sub-district of Khairpur, on July 17, have been brought to Karachi, relatives of the women told The News on Thursday. After 20 days of futile search by the villagers and the Gumbat police and lack of cooperation by the local Panchayat, the relatives arrived in Karachi late Wednesday night in search of the women.

“We were informed by reliable sources within the village that the women escaped from the village along with three men — two Muslims and one Hindu — who brought them to Geedar Colony in the Malir District of Karachi,” said Punnu Bheel during an interview. He is accompanied by his neighbour Bhera Ram Bheel and their case is being handled by social worker Mujahid Mewankumar Bheel based in Karachi, associated with the Karachi Hindu Panchayat.

According to details of the case, the abducted include 30-year old widow, Mumi, along with her seven-year-old daughter Shanti and another relative Meeri, 15, daughter of Raano who went missing on the night of July 17 around 9:00pm from their village Haji Abdul Aziz Chandio in Gumbat. The suspects allegedly involved in the kidnapping case are Taju and Gohar Rajpat from the Muslim community along with a Hindu, Misri, who allegedly facilitated the kidnapping.

“He was the only person missing from the community next morning and we are sure he is involved,” said Punnu with a tinge of disappointment. The relatives fear the women may have been kidnapped or forced to flee as one of them (Mumi) was romantically involved with a Muslim, Taju.

Sharing further details of the case, Punnu said Taju is a married man who also had relations with the Hindu widow. Suspecting his illicit relations with the Hindu woman, his wife has also filed a case against him in court for the dissolution of their marriage, informed Punnu Bheel. He added that since kidnapping of Hindu women to convert them into Muslims was a common practice in several districts of Sindh, he feared Mumi, Shanti and Meeri may be the next target of religious activists.

The practice of converting Hindus is rapidly increasing because of the social oppression of the religious minority. “It is a common practice. First, a Muslim man traps a woman in love and then compels her to convert to Islam, promising a better future,” said Mujahid Bheel. He added that several cases of forced conversion take place in the city of Karachi on a daily basis, but they go unreported.

The relatives appealed to the Sindh Chief Minister, Prime Minister and the President to look into the matter as the Hindus are now even frightened to vent their anger and frustration as they fear victimisation. “The entire Hindu community in Gumbat is living under constant fear after the recent kidnappings,” said Punnu.

Moreover, they feel threatened by the police and the local feudals who oppress the Bheel community, instead of hearing and helping them.

“We reported the matter to the police but they did not lodge an FIR. Even the local Panchayat refused to offer any assistance because we belong to the Bheel community so we had to come to Karachi for help,” added Bhera Ram Bheel.

The relatives said they intend to spend a few more days in Karachi and hope the police in Karachi would help them register an FIR against the perpetrators, unlike the Gumbat police.
Source: The News
Date:8/8/2008