Fallout of Khipro gang-rape: Parents stop sending girls to schools
By A.B. Arisar
UMEKROT: Afraid for their daughters’ honour majority of parents of more than 100,000 students have stopped them from attending schools, colleges and coaching centres in Umerkot, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar district following a shocking gang-rape incident in Khipro town.
More than 70 government and private girls colleges, high secondary schools, high schools and coaching centres in Sanghar, 20 in Umerkot, 15 in Tharparkar and more than 70 academic institutions in Mirpurkhas have reported a significant drop in attendance of girl students following the Khipro incident in which a student of class XI was allegedly drugged, criminally assaulted, filmed and her video posted on the Internet.
Khipro police registered a case and arrested all the accused but the girls nominated in the FIR who had obtained protective bail before arrest
Dr Mir Alam Mari, a leader of JSQM’s Khipro chapter, said that eight families of the town had contacted him and informed that a gang of blackmailers comprising 17 boys and seven girls belonging to respectable families chased girls, found out their weaknesses, trapped them in their love and later subjected them to sexual assault and prepared their videos, which were used to blackmail the victim girls’ parents or posted on the Internet.
Such gangs are not only operating in Khipro but also in Digri and other small and major towns of the province and prey upon the victim girls and their parents’ fear of humiliation.
Amar Sindhu, an activist of Women Action Forum, said that she had met around 300 families gathered at the house of uncle of rape victim in Khipro who told her that they had shifted their families back to their villages and stopped their girls from attending schools.
She said that about 70 per cent of total number of girl students had been stopped from going to schools and colleges after this horrible incident.
Irfana Mallah of Women Action Forum said that an old man disclosed to her on condition of anonymity that the boys arrested in the Khipro gang-rape case had demanded Rs1 million from him on the wedding day of his daughter.
They threatened to show her video to her would-be in-laws if he failed to give money. This compelled him to pay them Rs500,000 and then send her daughter to India, he said.
Ms Mallah said that scores of Hindu families had migrated from Khipro after being trapped in the vicious cycle of blackmailing by such gangs.
Social activist Kanji Rano Bheel advocate said that people of his community in Khipro had told him that besides this gang three more gangs existed in Khipro.
They were in the know of more than 16 cases of gang-rape, preparing videos and extorting money from victims’ parents, majority of whom belonged to minority, he said.
He said that the gang-rape incident had reversed the trend and harassed girls and their parents.
Professors, lecturers and teachers in girls colleges and schools in Mirpurkhas region said that 50 per cent girls had stopped attending classes after the Khipro rape incident.
Students in Government Girls Higher Secondary School Bhansinghabad Mirpurkhas said that such incidents were making future of girls’ education dark.
Mirpurkhas Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Chairman Prof Engineer Abdul Aleem Khanzada said that the Khipro incident could create a sense of frustration among girls and their parents.
The teachers appealed to the president, prime minister and Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the gang-rape incident and impose a ban on use of mobiles with movie cameras in academic institutions and urged Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to devise a policy to prevent users from uploading such videos on the Internet.