On Monday, Lata and Rinkle Kumari’s families wept and appealed to the government to let them meet their daughters, while 15-year-old Asha’s family demanded that the authorities should find and rescue their missing daughter.
While speaking in Sindhi at a press conference at Karachi Press Club, Rinkle’s mother begged and pleaded for an opportunity to meet her daughter. According to Asha’s mother Reshma, her daughter went missing 18 days ago from Jacobabad. While wiping her tears with her dupatta, she said that it was cruel that the authorities had not found her as yet. While talking to The Express Tribune, Asha’s brother Vinod Kumar said that he used to drop and pick his sister from the parlour where she was doing a course. “When I went to pick her up on March 3, the parlour owner told me that she had already left,” he said. “She was so tired of the course. She did not want to go there anymore but I kept pushing her to do so.”
The family registered the FIR and nominated the parlour owner. So far the case is still under investigation.
According to Lata Kumari’s father, the Hindu doctor who converted to Islam, his wife was in the hospital because of what had happened.
The patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar, spoke out against the recent incidents of abduction and forced conversion in the Hindu community. “Girls from our peace loving community get scared when they see a bullet,” he said. “Imagine how Rinkle felt when she went to court with 500 people carrying weapons! Can we ever say that her statement was recorded of free will?” He added that if Asha was not rescued soon, 20 days later they would find out that she had also converted.
According to Ramesh, the country’s economy was dependent on the minorities. “There are eight million Hindus in Pakistan, out of which seven million live in Sindh,” he said. “Their current state is forcing them to leave their homes. So far 200 to 250 families have moved from Jacobabad. We don’t want to leave the country.” The chairperson of the Pak-Hindu Welfare Association, Mangla Sharma said that this was not the first time the community had to step forward to raise their voice against injustice. Sharma added that they would appeal to the Federal Shariat Court against the forced conversions. “Our girls are being brainwashed,” said Sharma. “They need counselling.”
Rinkle’s uncle Raj said that protests were being held by religious extremists every day in Mirpur Mathelo. “They are threatening us that if Rinkle returns home, four Hindu women will go missing,” he said. “What will we do now? Where will we go now?”
According to Qadir Khan, a lawyer, under Article 36 of the Constitution minorities should be protected but were not given security.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s wing chief in Sindh, Michael Javed said that a judicial commission should be set up to look into these cases. The patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council clarified that they were satisfied with the court proceedings but wanted a judicial inquiry of the policeman who mishandled the cases in Ghotki. He said that it was no use to approach the minority parliamentarians as they were not representatives of the minorities. “We prefer to lodge our complaints with top government officials,” he said. “However, it is only the Supreme Court that takes notice of such cases.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.