The police has registered the case against the accused that are supported by the Mr. Mahesh Kumar Malani Member of provisional Assembly (MPA) of the PPP in Tharparker.
The Police of Chachro taluka has arrested five accused but the remaining three absconded. Medico legal reports are not in favor of the poor victim. According to reports it is declared that due to no sign of violence and marital status it is not possible to ascertain the gang rape whereas her clothes were send to the chemical lab in Karachi for further probe.
Ms. Motaan (26) wife of Mr. Tiloo Bheel resident of Palani paro of Baprario village, Talka Chachro, Tharparkar Sindh was brutally beaten and raped by five assailants on September 4, 2013 in the early morning. At the time of rape she was two months pregnant. On the day of the incident at around 8 a.m Motaan along with her husband Tiloo, brother-in-law (husband’s brother) Mr. Anboo, Tiloo’s cousin Khamiso son of Bhuroo and her three children (2 sons and one daughter) was going to Umerkot area to work together as labourers at a brick kiln. On the way near to the Veersani stand they were stopped by eight culprits: Mr. Malukoo son of Mr. Somajhi, Mr. Kalu who was armed with pistol, Mr. Petho, Mr. Bhurgro, Mr. Pirbhu son of Malokoo, Mr. Hero son of Mr. Punhoon, Mr. Karto son of Mr. Punhoon and Mr. Adwa son of Mr. Ghanoare who were armed with pistols, axes and sticks. The accused are residents of the Veersani Mohalla of Baprario village, Talka Chacharo Tharparker.
They grabbed the innocent poor people from the vehicle and started beating them. The culprits took the victims into the community center belonging to Mr. Malukoo Bheel which is near his house. Motaan was grabbed by her hair and was taken inside the community center along with her husband Tiloo, three children and Anboo whereas Khamisoo during the violence was able to escape. The accused beat the victims brutally and tied their hands and feet and then forced them to watch the rape of Motaan.
Malukoo, Burgaro and Patho were charged for keeping watch on Tiloo and his children and Anbo was tied outside the room. The other accused Kalo, Pirbhu, Kartu, Hero and Adwa torn the clothes off Motaan and also raped her. After the rape the culprits continued to beat the victims for two hours before leaving them unconscious.
The family went to the Chachro Police Station to report the rape and the assault but Mr. Mahesh Kumar Malani (MPA) pressured the police and threatened the family not to register the case. The family protested in front of the Press Club Chachro and after that police registered the FIR against the accused from whom five are arrested and three are still free. The victim Motaan was shifted to Civil Hospital Mithi (because of rural health center in Chachro does not have a lady Doctor) where Dr. Padma did the medical legal checkup in which she reported that victim had no injuries so there is no evidence of gang rape and her body is in sound condition. On the other side MPA Mahesh Malani told the media that there is no case of gang rape and only violence took place. The accused are close to Mahesh Malani as they helped him during his election campaign which took place on 11 May 2013 by setting the election camp in their community center.
The enmity between the two families started with the immoral behaviour of Kalo’s intrusion into the home of Motaan’s brother in law (Khanoo) one evening. Later on it was disclosed that Kalo entered in the home of Khano with ill intent and he had illegal relations with his wife. Khano then tried to get revenge by making a malicious video of one of Kalo Bheel’s daughters which he then shared with others. After that a quarrel started between the both families but they agreed to settle their differences and not enter each other’s homes. However, the video continued to appear so the family of the girl decided to take revenge from Khanoo. Maluko along with his henchmen were waiting for the chance to take revenge by raping a member of Khano’s family.
This is the first case of gang rape to happen in Tharparker whereas these types of cases are rare in this region of Pakistan. The reality is that women are most vulnerable and they bear the punishment of other’s sins like in this case. Though Motaan was innocent in this case she became the victim and her whole family bore the consequences of other’s sins.
Kakoo Kohli (24) and her elder sister, Nallan (26), who belong to the Jane sect of the Hindu religion, were residents of Goth Lalu Shar, Umarkot district, Sindh province. They were both raped by Mohammad Khadim Shar and his brother Mr. Sirajuddin Shar, the sons of the landlord and the owner of the village, Lalu Ilyas Shar.
The girls and their family members were working in the fields of Shar and were provided a hut to live in. The main culprit, Mohammad Khadim Shar, was lusting after Kakoo and on several occasions asked for sexual favors. However each time Shar was denied. The poverty of Kakoo and her sister and lack of economical support prevented them from leaving their workplace. After a long session of frustration, anger and shame, generated by the constant denial and rejection from Kakoo, Mohammed Khadim Shar finally decided to take her by force.
Dalit women, who are mostly defenseless, are considered ‘sexually available’ and are targeted for sexual violence by the Muslim community. Dalits in particular and the entire Hindu community in general are vulnerable and voiceless and unable to oppose the atrocities which are perpetrated on them. The Kohli Hindus are considered to be the lowest people in the Hindu religion.
On October 18, the perpetrator, Mohammad Khadim Shar took his brother Sirajudding Shar with him and attacked Kakoo’s house at gun point and restrained all the members of the Kohli family, including the mother and father.
Khadim raped Kakoo and Siraj raped Nallan in front of their family members. After the rape, the attackers threatened the family that if they report the incident to anybody they would be killed.
However, after the incident, Kumar Veerji Kohli, the father of Kakoo and Nallan took the victims to the Shadi Pali police station to report the rape.
However, as usually happens, the police refused to file the report until they completed their investigation. After two days the police agreed to file an FIR which infuriated the main perpetrator, Khadim Shar. The police arrested Sirajuddin Shar but allowed Khadim to abscond. Sirajuddin was able to obtain bail.
In the meantime, the Umarkot police, on the instructions of the landlord, arranged a Jirga, an illegal court declared by the high court of Sindh, consisting of elders of the area. The Jirga compelled the victims and her family to reach a settlement with the perpetrators and this was sanctioned by the Judicial Magistrate. The police officials were happy to serve the landlords and the case against the perpetrators was withdrawn.
Khadim Shar was insulted that a Hindu woman from the lowest caste had filed a case against him and this, in his eyes, was a challenge to the supremacy of Islam.
On November 29, while he was at his fields, he received information that Kakoo and her mother were attending the clinic of a local doctor. He took the jeep belonging to his friend and abducted the woman and her mother at gun point in full view of many persons. After reaching his fields he shot Kakoo in the head. He was arrested but still has not been charged as there were no eye witnesses and police classify the mother as a biased witness.
A large number of scheduled castes are working as agriculture workers and are in the worst condition of debt bondage due to their poor working conditions. While men are exploited as bonded workers and are victims of the forced and bonded labour, the women particularly young girls are often sexually abused by landlords and local influential people.
The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN), the Dalit Network of over 30 organizations supporting rights of marginalized groups particularly the minorities and scheduled castes, says that they have noticed that sexual violence against Scheduled Caste women and young girls is on rise in rural areas of Sindh. Newspapers have been publishing over a dozen news items about acts of sexual violence against Dalit women during the last three months alone in the province of Sindh. In many cases women were gang raped. The irony is that hardly any culprit is booked, leave along punished by the legal system.
According to Covert Wires, it is noteworthy that the Dalits consist of more than one-third of the Pakistani Hindu population but the Pakistanis for propaganda purposes do not consider them Hindus and try to Islamize them. About 14 Lakh Dalits have not been included in the Hindu population in last census which counts the Hindu population as 2.6 million whereas its actually around four million.
Deafening Silence on the Rape of Hindu Girls
In May 2016, five-year-old Hindu girl, Shazia Bheel, was murdered by Zahid Sheikh, a man who was dressed as a woman when he raped and murdered the child in Hyderabad. An FIR (22/2016), was lodged for murder and rape against the culprit on the compliant of the father of the deceased child.
Women and girls belonging to minority groups are far more vulnerable and are easy targets for sexually repressed religious zealots who use this vulnerability to their advantage.
Lower caste Hindus comprise 80% of the total Hindu population living in Sindh and most are peasants’ and laborers working for the landlords and kiln owners for generations. These landlords reign supreme in the locality and exercise complete control over the lives of these peasants.
In this case, the father worked as a laborer in Sindh and Zahid Sheikh is the landlord / owner / religious zealot. In 2012, eight-year-old Meena was raped and strangled to death by the landlord whose land her family was tending for generations. Four years since, the family is still living in fear; given the power equations, they didn’t even approach the police to file an FIR, fearing the wrath of their employer.
Being a minority and also being poor is akin to a death sentence in Pakistan. The beleaguered Hindu community is reduced to subhuman levels of existence and can only do menial jobs, thus perpetuating a cycle of poverty that they cannot escape. Forced conversions and abductions of minor Hindu girls is a norm, especially in Sindh, where most of the Hindu population lives. The State patronizes rapists for their being well placed in the social hierarchy; the conviction rate of rape is already dismal; however when it comes to rape of girls belonging to minority community, forget prosecution, there is deafening silence. These stories are not reported in the media and are brushed aside.
Sexual violence targeting minority women and girls has been used as a weapon of religious subjugation. In January 2014, eight-year-old Sumera Devi was kidnapped while she was playing outside her home. Her dead body was found the next day in a nearby field. The police was uncooperative in the investigation and has done little to assist the victim’s family. In addition, the government hospital initially refused to conduct an autopsy on the girl, but later relented, after the Hindu community staged a protest outside the hospital, and the local administration intervened. The autopsy confirmed that Sumera Devi died while being raped.
The judicial process is often excruciatingly lengthy and the evidence unending; if the rape victim survives, the survivor has to have tremendous resolve to prove her claim against the accused. The Hindu community, generally having poor and illiterate members, is most often unaware of the judicial process or it cannot afford the added cost of adjudication. When a family has to decide between food and justice, satisfying hunger will always take precedence. This speaks about state of access to justice in Pakistan, as guaranteed in the Constitution.
According to government statistics, 4,960 cases of rape were registered in Pakistan from June 2013 to February 2015. There were 6,632 arrests, but just 219 convictions. Yet, hardly any case pertains to the minority.
Judicial discrimination against minorities also makes it difficult for Hindu girls to seek justice. In 2012, a Hindu girl Rinkle Kumari was forcefully converted and when she was presented in court, the judge reverted her custody back to her abductor, despite her protest and willingness to join her parents. The judicial magistrate told her that in Islam the home of a newly married girl was the home of her husband and she was not allowed to go to her parents. She was also repeatedly slapped in the court by a member of the National Assembly for denying being converted to Islam.
Many journalists fear for their lives for reporting on the rape of Hindu girls. In 2012, journalists Arbab Bheel of Dharti TV and Mushtaq Qamber of Daily Sindh Express were threatened when they reported on the rape of a six-year-old girl. The accused, Muhammad Mangrio, is the relative of the Town Nazim, chairperson of town committee. The Superintendent of Police had also refused to help the journalists and sided with the perpetrators as they belonged to the ruling political party at that time.
Many Hindus have already migrated to India leaving behind their ancestral lands. The religious persecution, involving rape and forced conversion, has disheartened the community.