July 18, 2023

By Shaukat Korai


A wave of fear and concern has gripped residents of Jacobabad, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Shikarpur and Ghotki districts after a video recording of a local band of dacoits threatening violence against the Hindu community of Sindh was circulated on social media.
The video was a response to reports of the conversion and marriage of Seema Jakhrani, a Khairpur native, to an Indian Hindu man she had met in an online mobile game. The dacoits, who are based out of the kacha area on the banks of the Indus River, threatened to attack the homes, businesses and worship places of the Hindu community if Seema and her four children, whom she took with her to India, were not ‘returned’.
Bhavesh Kumar Maheshwari, a leader of a minority rights organization in the area, said that people have restricted all activities following the threatening statements.
“People in the Upper Sindh belt, which includes Sukkur, Ghotki, Mirpur Mathelo, Kashmore-Kandhkot, are terrified because in the video, the dacoits claimed they had grenades with which they would blow up temples. They also took names,”
he said. “The temples and gurdwaras were usually bustling, and now fewer people are frequenting them. The [minority] business community has also restricted its presence in the markets.”

Maheshwari stated that although the government appears to have taken immediate measures for the protection of the local Hindus, dealing with hardened criminals requires a permanent solution.

“The Chief Minister of Sindh and the Chairman of the ruling PPP have said they have taken action. Local stakeholders have also issued some videos reiterating their support for the Hindu community, and SSP Kashmore-Kandkot Irfan Samoon also visited several temples and gurdwaras. These are all positive but short-term steps because the law and order situation in this belt is a major issue. The government needs to find a long-term solution.”

Minority rights and social media activist Dr. Surath Sindhu opined that the state’s silence in this is tantamount to complicity.

Mian Abdul Haq aka Mian Mithu, a controversial Muslim cleric who is facing multiple allegations of facilitating kidnappings and forced conversions/marriages of young Hindu girls, also stated that the local community is not at fault. He however urged the government and the Chief of Army Staff to retrieve Seema Jakhrani and her children.

“I condemn the Seema Jakhrani incident as our local Hindu community, who are completely blameless, may be harmed,” he said. “If anyone wants to do something, then they should take action against those who were responsible for the incident. I urge the government and the Chief of Army Staff to intervene and recover the girl.”
Meanwhile, the Sindh Government has increased security for places of worship in Upper Sindh’s districts.
“Some extremists have threatened us that they will attack us in retaliation for [Seema Jakhrani’s conversion and marriage], but we have the support of the Sindh government,” a Hindu worshipper told Voicepk.net. “We have more security now, for which we would like to thank the government”
“The Sindh government and the police have given us protection against extremists. We are not afraid,”
said a member of the Bari Darbar Sahib Kashmore Sanghat.
However, the Sindh’s Hindu community also reiterated their plea to the government to take steps to improve the law and order as well as security situation in the area, as well as to support people and measures that enhance interfaith harmony.


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