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Silence of Hindu girls yet to shake Pakistan conscience
Pakistan Rape Incident

Silence of Hindu girls yet to shake Pakistan conscience

| @indiablooms | 23 Apr 2023, 01:51 am

Not a day passes without a Hindu girl being abducted, raped and forced to convert with lawmakers abetting the culprits across Pakistan.

Their cries remain frozen like the silence of lambs. Their agony is lost in the corridors of power. No media, no human rights activist, no political leader, no one is moved by these daily acts of crime against women, humanity and religion in every day Pakistan.

The most recent incident of a Hindu girl from the Kohli community in Sanghar tell a story which occurs so regularly that it is rarely reported. The girl was abducted by a man named Iqbal Babhero, forced to convert, raped for over ten months before she could escape.

She returned to her home where she told her parents that Iqbal had threatened her to convert at gunpoint.

Today she lives in fear of Iqbal and the local police which is threatening the family if the woman refuses to go back to Iqbal’s family.

In March this year, about 12 Hindu women were forcibly taken away from their homes by Muslim men and their cohorts, raped by one and many, forced to convert to Islam and then married with the blessings of local pir or maulvi.

Many were confined illegally, others chained before they accepted their fate and `admitted` their willingness to convert.

These cases are merely samples of torture and injustice that befall Hindu women and their families in Pakistan. But it is not only Hindu girls who are made to go through these tortuous passages but young girls from Christian, Sikh and other minorities suffer equally.

The Centre for Social Justice, an NGO based in Lahore, analysed 124 reported incidents in 2022 of forced conversions and found that 81 Hindu, 42 Christian, and one Sikh girl met with such a harrowing fate.

Twenty-three per cent of girls were below 14 years of age, 36 percent of them were between the age of 14 and 18 years, and only 12 percent of the victims were adults, while the age of 28 percent of the victims was not reported.

Most of the cases--65  percent of cases of forced conversion --were reported in Sindh in 2022, followed by 33 percent in Punjab, and 0.8percent each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

More shocking is a recent report from the UK-based Centre for Legal Aid and Assistance (CLAAS) which gives a horrific account of what happens to such young women.

It reported that "after a kidnapping, conversion, and forced marriage many girls are coerced by their abductors into making statements against their parents when they are presented in court. Due to life threats, the girls state that they have come of their wills."

The report pointed out that victims of forced conversion were compelled to take an Islamic name but are often called by derogatory terms.

After some time, many of these girls disappear or are murdered, or forcefully moved into prostitution.

The Hindus, Christians and other minorities  are angry at the government  for not protecting their young girls from Muslim marauders. They say that such forced abductions are like gangrapes and the accused should be tried and punished as rapists.

Their voices go unheard. The  state, by and large, acts more in complicity with the accused through criminal manipulation of records and statements.

Attempts to bring in legislation to prevent such horrendous acts have every time been sabotaged by Islamic zealots and their supporters. 

Birth certificates are changed and hapless girls are forced to admit that they adopted Islam on their own. The police and the courts often side with the accused persons and the poor families of the victims are browbeaten into silence.

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