Ms. Kastoori, seen in the video clip below (also here), is 17 years old and was abducted on January 24, 2010.
After being taken in the evening by Ramzan Khoso, Habib Ullah Khoso and Ghulam Nabi Khoso, with the help of their armed guard Verio Gur-Ro, Kastoori was raped by Ramzan, the eldest of the brothers. She was recovered the next day from the mens’ residence by a group from her community, where she was found tied up.
On January 26, Kastoori’s parents tried to register a FIR at Nagar Parker police station but were turned away. Because of this they could not obtain an official medical checkup for her at the civil hospital or the Nagar Parker hospital.
The family rejected an out of court sum offered to them by the father of the three perpetrators, M Bachaal Khoso, who is an office bearer for the PPP and reportedly wields political influence. He arranged a jirga – an illegal tribal court – on February 9, within the knowledge of Nagar Parker police officers. The jirga members pressured the victim’s family to accept the marriage of the victim to her rapist and her conversion Islam. The family rejected this proposal and continued to try to use legal channels.
With the help of NGOs Kastoori’s father was able to file a petition with the Sindh High Court on February 12, which ordered the filing of an FIR and a medical examination on February 17. The report noted that due to the length of time since the rape it could not find the necessary evidence.
Although an FIR was finally lodged on February 17 under Section 365-B, the perpetrators were not arrested because they had successfully applied for pre-arrest bail from the Sessions Court in Mithi, even though the court is not authorized to do so at that level.
The police then arrested the father of the victim (along with 12 others) on February 18 for stealing valuable sap from a Guggal plant, although Guggal is not cultivated in the area.
At the Hyderabad press club Kastoori (featured in the You Tube video, embedded) has threatened to publicly kill herself if the perpetrators are not arrested. Mr. Hameed Chand, Assistant Sub Inspector in Naga Parker, and the investigation officer have told human rights activists that they are being prevented from pursuing the case by the PPP members and local landlords. The victim and her family are in hiding, and civil society protests have reportedly not resulted in further action from the authorities.
Forced marriages of minority girls with Muslim men in areas along the Indian borders that have large Dalit Hindu populations, such as Thar Parker, Nagar Parker, Umer Kot, Mithi and Karoonjhar is common. The term Dalits are members of a scheduled caste, and due to the position of many as bonded labourers, female Dalits are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is not unknown for Muslim seminaries to urge the forced conversion of Dalit women.
When confronted by the authorities perpetrators are often able to produce a marriage certificate from a seminary confirming the marriage and conversion of the victim. The girls are often taken out of contact with their families entirely, and various cases have been documented in which the courts have condoned such marriages with girls below the age of consent.