Report by Shafique Sher
Two minor Hindu girls were abducted from Sawari, a village within the Thari Mirwah police station limits in district Khairpur, Sindh. While the girls’ family announce their fears that the victims are under threat of being forcibly converted and married to their Muslim abductors, the police appear to be sweeping the incident under the rug.
Mithu Oud’s 14 year old daughter, Suthi, was first abducted from her home by unknown men in the dead of night, who then returned 2 days later and dragged away Shamma as well. Locals claim that the girls are victims of forced conversions and that the incidents are an attempt to pressurize the Hindu minority community in the region.
Prem, a villager, said that minorities are unprotected in Pakistan.
“This is an injustice against us. Two of our girls have been kidnapped, no one is standing with us. We have made countless rounds to the police, to the DSP and the SSP, but to no avail,” he decried. “If we are not welcome in Pakistan, then send us away somewhere else. Just rub out the white stripe that represents us minorities in the national flag.”
The victims’ mother, Shrimti, alleges that the pir, Hussain Ali Shah, a man of great influence in the area, had taken the abducted girls to court in his car. According to her, the girls were desperate to return to their families.
“My girls demanded to go back to their mother, they was wailing,” Shrimti recalled. “They clasped their hands together from afar, pleading that we save them. They couldn’t speak a word to us. This is all Hussain Ali Shah’s doing, and the police are refusing to enforce any justice.”
Ramesh, the girls’ brother, denounced the treatment of the Hindu community by powerful Muslim leaders.
“We vote for these pirs and they refuse to even listen to our grievances,” he said. “They won’t let us meet the girls in private so that we cannot ask them whether or not they’re here of their own accord. And now, the pir’s goons threaten us by brandishing their guns.”
When confronted with this matter, the police waved away the allegations, stating that only one girl has been kidnapped and that the family is concocting the tale about a second abduction. The local Hindu community has therefore little other recourse than to continue to protest against the failure of the police to give them justice, as well as incidents of forced conversions going unabated. Meanwhile, Suthi and Shamma’s family have appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to have the girls returned to their home and given adequate protection, and address the concerns of minorities in Khairpur.