Friday, March 9, 2012

Grim fate of minorities in Pakistan: Hindu Girls Abducted and Forced into Muslim Marriages, Who Cares?

Source: News Bharati     

undefinedKarachi, March 1: Minorities in Islam dominant Nations like Pakistan and Bangladesh are seems to be in a severe crisis of being victims of violation of their basic Human Rights. After recent arson attacks on Hindu Loknath temple in Bangladesh, now the Pakistan is being accused worldwide for not protecting the human rights of its minorities. And it is more serious as the cases of abduction of Hindu girls and their forced Muslim marriages in Pakistan are being traumatising the Hindu community in Pakistan.

IRIN – standing for Integrated Regional Information Networks, has unearthed the issue of abduction of Hindu girls and their forced Muslim marriages in Pakistan.  

Former Radha was abducted and forced to marry some Ahmed Salim and now became Ameena. Sixteen-year-old Ameena Ahmed, now living in the town of Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, does not always respond when her mother-in-law calls out to her. “Even after a year of `marriage’ I am not used to my new name. I was called Radha before,” she told IRIN on a rare occasion when she was allowed to go to the corner shop on her own to buy vegetables.

Ameena, or Radha as she still calls herself, was abducted from Karachi about 13 months ago by a group of young men who offered her ice-cream and a ride in their car. Before she knew what was happening, she was dragged into a larger van, and driven to an area she did not know.

She was then pressured into signing forms which she later found meant she was married to Ahmed Salim, 25; she was converted to a Muslim after being asked to recite some verses in front of a cleric. She was obliged to wear a veil. Seven months ago, Ameena, who has not seen her parents or three siblings since then and “misses them a lot”, moved with her new family to southern Punjab.

Amarnath Motumal, a lawyer and leader of Karachi’s Hindu community says that the abduction and kidnapping of Hindu girls is becoming more and more common. “This trend has been growing over the past four or five years, and it is getting worse day by day”, tells Amarnath.  

He said there were at least 15-20 forced abductions and conversions of young girls from Karachi each month, mainly from the multi-ethnic Lyari area. The fact that more and more people were moving to Karachi from the interior of Sindh Province added to the dangers, as there were now more Hindus in Karachi, he said.

“They come to search for better schooling, for work and to escape growing extremism,” said Motumal who believes Muslim religious schools are involved in the conversion business.

“Hindus are non-believers. They believe in many gods, not one, and are heretics. So they should be converted,” said Abdul Mannan, 20, a Muslim student. He said he would be willing to marry a Hindu girl, if asked to by his teachers, “Because conversions brought big rewards from Allah [God]. But later I will marry a `real’ Muslim girl as my second wife,” he said.

According to local law, a Muslim man can take more than one wife, but rights activists argue that the law infringes the rights of women and needs to be altered.

Motumal says Hindu organizations are concerned only with the “forced conversion” of girls under 18.
Sunil Sushmt, 40, who lives in a village close to the city of Mirpurkhas in central Sindh Province, said his 14-year-old daughter was “lured away” by an older neighbour and, her parents believe, forcibly converted after marriage to a Muslim. “She was a child. What choice did she have?” her father asked. He said her mother still cries for her “almost daily” a year after the event.

Sushmat is also concerned about how his daughter is being treated. “We know many converts are treated like slaves, not wives,” he said.

According to official figures, Hindus based mainly in Sindh make up 2 percent of Pakistan’s total population of 165 million. “We believe this figure could be higher,” Motumal said.

According to media reports, a growing number of Hindus have been fleeing Pakistan, mainly for neighbouring India. The kidnapping of girls and other forms of persecution is a factor in this, according to those who have decided not to stay in the country any longer.

Parvati Devi, 70 expresses her concerns saying that “My family has lived in Sindh for generations,”. “But now I worry for the future of my granddaughters and their children. Maybe we too should leave,” she said. “The entire family is seriously considering this.”

In November 2011 USCIRF found that textbooks used in Pakistani primary and secondary schools foster prejudice and intolerance of religious minorities, especially Hindus and Christians. Such intolerant references are not restricted to Islamic studies textbooks, they are found in both early elementary and more advanced social studies texts used by all public school students, including non-Muslims.

In December 2011, a group of Pakistani Hindus have urged the Indian government to grant them either refugee status or citizenship, claiming that they are not treated well in their home country.

In January 2012, Hindus in Pakistan claimed that that their numbers are marginalised because Hindu girls are being kidnapped, converted to Islam and forcibly married to Muslim men.

Why the Teestas, Rajdeeps and who not, cry for those minority Hindu families which are humiliated daily in Pakistan by the radical Muslim fundamentalists.
Who cares?,-Who-Cares-.aspx?NB=&lang=1&m1=&m2=&p1=&p2=&p3=&p4=&NewsMode=int

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