Targeting Hindu girls for rape

Published: January 4, 2013

The writer is a student at Trent University and works with EndCSA-Pakistan on child sexual abuse cases in Pakistan

We have heard all about how rape is used as weapon in mass-scale war. Several thousand women were brutally raped in the 1971 war in East Pakistan to silence all the voices that were being raised against the Government of Pakistan. Every year, Pakistanis wail about their prisoners of war and how their army had to surrender but they will never talk about the horrendous acts they committed.

In some democratic societies, rape is used as a weapon against marginalised communities where the rest of society stays quiet because it is not happening in their own backyard. In Pakistan, rapists are never brought to justice and the survivor’s plea for justice turns into another  ‘agenda’ of  ‘Western agents’ and rival political parties.

When one speaks about the rape of Muslim women, the clergy starts questioning women’s characters and shift blame away from the rapists. When one speaks of the rape of Hindu women, none of the clergy speaks up because their racism is at play here. After all, a Hindu in Pakistan has “freedom to practise their religion” only on the constitutional paper that no one cares for. If one is a Sindhi from rural Sindh, poor and Hindu, then everything gets played against him or her because Pakistan doesn’t care for anything which is not ‘sexy’ enough to be portrayed on television, even if one protests massively.

In Umerkot, there were several protests against rape throughout the month of December but they received little to no coverage. One latest episode of rape was of two girls — aged six and 14 — from Hindu families in rural Sindh who were robbed of their childhood and humanity. The rapes were not the first of their kind and were allegedly done by those in power. Sindhi Hindus have been targeted with sexual violence for quite sometime now — and they have been repeatedly silenced by those in the corridors of power. Yet, those with authority and their rape apologists have the audacity to talk about women’s rights.

If there were officials involved in protecting the rapists because rapists might be political workers, then perhaps it was their feudal and political right to oppress the people of Sindh. The pseudo-liberal won’t say anything because calling out the rapists and demanding justice is defamation of ‘democracy’ and the victims have a political agenda. For democracy, our pseudo-liberals forget that people have a right to hold every leading political party accountable. For some feudals, it is an easy way to exploit women and then justify it by sending pseudo-liberals to be their doormats — obviously they own the lands and everything that comes with it.

In 2010, the Asian Human Rights Commission said that some 20 to 25 Hindu women are forcibly converted and sexually assaulted every month. Though the Sindhi news media is very effective in reporting this, Urdu and English news media is not, perhaps because it considers it more important to talk about rape in Egypt, Syria and India, rather than what is happening to ethnic minorities in Pakistan.

The Umerkot rape victims face terrible difficulties; they have not received proper treatment for their sexual assaults and currently lie in local hospitals. Their families are being denied justice every day. And then our Pakistani pseudo-elites act surprised when there is mass Hindu migration from Sindh.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2013.

Reader Comments (46)

  • Akshay, India
    Jan 4, 2013 - 10:47PM

    Very good article.

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  • GS@Y
    Jan 4, 2013 - 10:54PM

    Very important issues pointed out. I only wish the writing were better.

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  • Victim
    Jan 4, 2013 - 11:04PM

    People who trusted the promise of QAID-E-AZAM MUHAMMAD ALI JINNAH (REHMATULLAH ALLAY) made the worst mistake of their lives… Our Dadas and Nanas in 1947 should have taken the ship to Bombay, today we could have been at least equal citizens of a country, but alas :-( Today who will believe that in 1947 Karachi was a 51% Hindu city and religious harmony… We should have left the land and business and migrated… At least we would have equal citizenship… What is the point of being a citizen of a country where you are banned from being eligible to be President or PM because of your religion… Still I will always say JEAY SINDH, our motherland…

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  • Halal Pork
    Jan 4, 2013 - 11:38PM

    God bless your soul!
    .
    I am not even a Hindu, but still you struck a chord.
    .
    All rape should be abhorred, period.

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  • Bewildered
    Jan 4, 2013 - 11:38PM

    It is amazing how you made a general evil of society into a “Hindu” minority specific issue as if there are no rapes of Muslim or Christian girls in Pakistan – many committed by the followers of their own religion. Or, you think Hindus don’t commit rapes of the Hindu, Muslim, or Christian girls – you need to read Indian newspaper some time to get yourself better informed. Perhaps you think it is an easy way to fame, or else grow up.

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  • Jan 5, 2013 - 12:07AM

    The latest rape victim in Pakistan is a 9-year-old from Bahawalpur. And for everyone’s information, including that of the writer’s, she is not a Hindu. In my opinion there is not anything like targeted rapes against Hindu community in Pakistan. However it’s an undeniable fact that minorities are being persecuted. Forced conversations appeared as a real issue that was distorted by the apex court of the country and not by any political party.

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  • kanwal
    Jan 5, 2013 - 12:26AM

    What a mess of the minorities we have made in pakistan. Alas

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  • John B
    Jan 5, 2013 - 12:36AM

    Rape is an opportunistic crime and elites to street gangs have been found to be rapists when the system of law is enforced thoroughly and effectively. The incidences often reported in PAK has an another dimension of organized rape, where by molesting/raping a girl / woman is a means to get her into the marriage /religious fold. Post crime, often the victim is forced to choose between cash as compensation and or marry her rapist as if the marriage is a just solution to preserve the honor of the victim, and these precedences derive their legitimacy through customary /religious laws.

    What is happening in PAK in this organized manner is a state and society sponsored rape. In all fairness, reports of young Muslim rape victims are also abundant and the jirga solution of marrying her to rapists is considered acceptable by the society. This is when the society also joins with the rapists in cheering him.

    Rapists are all around the world and they do the crime nearly the same way, but when it is organized and considered acceptable by the society that cash /marriage compensation is a valid justice to the victim, then rapists will flourish.

    Why the victims are often very young in PAK now a days is something of monumental importance to consider.

    (Read a recent news in ET where a 9 year old was lured by three women and a man and subsequently raped by three men. )

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  • RAW is WAR
    Jan 5, 2013 - 12:47AM

    Brave lady, wrong country.

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  • Hindu
    Jan 5, 2013 - 1:29AM

    Can you imagine what learning about Do Qaumi Nazaria in school means for a Pakistan Hindu… Just let us go in peace… Nobody will miss us anyway…

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  • Polwala
    Jan 5, 2013 - 1:31AM

    Points raise are pertinent and are a cry to right the serious wrongs that a society inflicts on its vulnerable members who have been disenfranchised, brutalised and traumatised for sixty five years. How can decent human beings continue to live like this is beyond me. But then everything in Pakistan is measured by Pakistan standards.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 5, 2013 - 1:39AM

    Nowhere in the world rape was ever used as a means to convert. Pakistan is the only country that has been doing this for the last 65 years and still continues to do so. What sort of religious sanctity is being practiced? The courts, law enforcement agencies, political and religious parties have not taken action on even one instance to date. The best the political parties have done is to set up an eye wash commission as a delaying and deflecting tactic. We all know that this commission shall never come out with any meaningful report. The entire muslim world is ashamed by these shameful acts of Pakistani muslims.

    On the mass migration of hindus from Pakistan, the only other time it has happened anywhere in the world was during the regime of Idi Amin. Uganda that was once prosperous was totally ruined and has not recovered since then.

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  • Rafi
    Jan 5, 2013 - 2:04AM

    The issue discussed in this article is not a religious issue rather it’s a social issue. Those who commit such type of heinous crime they don’t belong to any religion. If you study Islamic teachings closely you would come to know that rape (or for that matter even illegal sexual relation) is said to be the one of the unforgivable sins. Those in power are equally responsible to protect citizens of Pakistan against any crime irrespective of their religion. Rapists do rape Muslim girls as well especially in rural areas. So instead of highlighting this issue on religious lines the writer should mention it as a social problem and we all are equal citizens of Pakistan irrespective of our caste, color, creed or religion.

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 5, 2013 - 2:05AM

    @Bewildered:
    The author is referring to rape of hindu girls for religious conversion. No one belonging to any other religion or even muslims of any other country have never done this. Rapes happen with others also, but they no one (even muslims of other countries) has ever done this convert others to their religion. Islam has been totally defamed by the muslims of Pakistan who resort to such acts and also by others who provide support for such acts by their silence. Can any act be as blasphemous as raping a girl while giving her the holy book? In fact the entire muslim world should condemn these muslims of Pakistan for their shameful acts. Conversions to Islam in Pakistan have mostly targeted young and minor hindu girls. Conversions of male or woman over 30 years of age are negligible. The Oxford educated leader of the youth promising change has not uttered a word condemning such practices, thereby providing support for such shameful acts.

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  • Mirza
    Jan 5, 2013 - 2:33AM

    A very courageous Op Ed, thanks ET for that. I am proud of the brave lady who is not afraid to tell the truth. While the population of West Pakistan (current Pakistan) has been increasing by many folds the population of minorities has been shrinking. What is happening to my country? If one looks at the names of first Pakistani cabinet there were several high power ministers from minorities and smaller sects. While the cabinet is huge today we see barely any in the cabinet. Most of the minority members are appointed or the quota and not elected directly. I am ashamed of the atrocities we have been committing against Bengali, Bloch, Sindhi and minority women. Even more shameful is the argument that “it is not just the Hindu but Muslim children are also molested” as if this makes it justified?

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  • upkamath aka prashanth
    Jan 5, 2013 - 5:52AM

    @Ali Salman Alvi: In my opinion there is not anything like targeted rapes against Hindu community in Pakistan.

    Statistics please.
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  • Lodhi
    Jan 5, 2013 - 7:27AM

    When one speaks of the rape of Hindu
    women, none of the clergy speaks up
    because their racism is at play here.

    So you really think Pakistani Hindus are a separate “race” ? I did not knew that race changed upon converting to other religion.

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  • amit (India)
    Jan 5, 2013 - 8:57AM

    A courageous write up, but honestly, I don’t think anything would really change. I feel it would be better if the Hindus of Pakistan pack up and come to India. Not because India is a ‘Hindu’ country (we are not – we are a secular republic) or crime free, but because they can have lives of some dignity here free from officially sanctioned discrimination.

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  • Suheil Siddiqi
    Jan 5, 2013 - 9:11AM

    Latest crisis happened in India – Hindustan.

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  • zoro
    Jan 5, 2013 - 9:29AM

    I hope Mr Naqvi reads this … !!!!

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  • Bewildered
    Jan 5, 2013 - 10:50AM

    @Raj – USA:

    “Rapes happen with others also, but they no one (even muslims of other countries) has ever done this convert others to their religion.”

    So, what are the rapes of Christian Nuns in India for? And who does it? Pakistani Muslims? Would you mind helping me recall the name of the Indian Hindus movement for (re)converting Christians and Muslims in to Hinduism?

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  • MSS
    Jan 5, 2013 - 11:49AM

    @Rafi,
    You are correct that it is a social crime. Nobody is blaming Islam. It is the Muslims of Pakistan who are committing these crimes. There is a big difference in being a muslim and being a true follower of Islam. Plus, a religion is in a person’s mind. How can the thoughts be changed by force, rape or the threat of a rape? Lots of ‘superficially muslim’ women are being created.

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  • AD
    Jan 5, 2013 - 12:16PM

    “In 2010, the Asian Human Rights Commission said that some 20 to 25 Hindu women are forcibly converted and sexually assaulted every month.”Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Jan 5, 2013 - 3:17PM

    @Victim:
    @Author:

    “Our Dadas and Nanas in 1947 should have taken the ship to Bombay, today we could have been at least equal citizens of a country”

    Man you are lucky you live in Pakistan where despite all the problems you are thousand times better treated than how the minorities in India are treated. Have any doubts, do some googling on 1984 Sikh massacre, violence against Christians, and anti-Muslims riots of Bombay and Gujarat. Watch this slide show available on Human Rights Watch website and check these links for some idea.

    1- ‘After Killing Them, I Felt Like Maharana Pratap’
    2- ‘They Hacked Him Bit By Bit, Then Burnt Him Alive’
    3- ‘We Dragged Them Out Of Their Houses’
    4- ‘The Smallest Village Wasn’t Spared’
    5- ‘It Should Be Something History Has Never Seen’Recommend

  • vasan
    Jan 5, 2013 - 4:08PM

    Lalagee : I enjoyed your jokes. For anything and everything happening in Pakistan from 1947 till date and in the future, you can keep drawing comparisons with sikh massacres and Gujarat massacres and keep feeling good. We, Indians, have left them long ago and keep working on how to improve on all Indians lives. India is a massive country with enormous diversity and its associated bigots and problems. But still it provides opportunity for all the minorities to excel in whatever they do. But incidents like Godhra, at times, have violent reactions and we do notice that. We did not stop at noticing like Pakistan but continue to pursue, prosecute and punish the culprits. The grass is definetely greener on the Indian side. The only place it is not greener in India is on the cricket pitches.

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  • Baba Ji
    Jan 5, 2013 - 5:01PM

    To earn some cheap popularity people like this author create drama in everything … Rape is Bad … Rape should be condemned … Rapist should be punished hard … AGREED … rest all about targeting of Hindus etc. is all dramatization. Pullleeezzzeee !!!!

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  • Lala Gee
    Jan 5, 2013 - 6:29PM

    @vasan:

    “Lalagee : I enjoyed your jokes.”

    I already know that. Killing thousands in a go is fun and games for Hindutva followers and the worshipers of “Kaali”.

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  • Haider Ali
    Jan 5, 2013 - 7:22PM

    @Lala Gee: So whats your point. You justify killings and rape in our country just because Indians also do it? At least they are not killing shias. Two wrongs dont make a right. And if this is your stance, then you need to be in a pagal khana, not in civilized society.

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  • Pria
    Jan 5, 2013 - 8:03PM

    Misleading article.

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  • sid
    Jan 5, 2013 - 8:30PM

    @Lala Gee:
    yes spreading religion by force and killing others,robbers….and worshippers of child abuser

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  • Manjunath
    Jan 5, 2013 - 10:10PM

    @Lala Gee: FYI
    India has a Hindu President (Pranab Mukherjee), Muslim Vice President (M. Hamid Ansari), a Sikh Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and a Atheist Defence Minister A. K. Antony. The leader of the largest party, the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi is a Catholic Christian, while the leader of the opposition is Sushma Swaraj, a Hindu. India’s ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam was a Muslim. Out of the 12 Presidents of India since Independence, three have been Muslims and one Sikh. India had a prominent former Defence Minister (George Fernandes), a Christian (though not practicing) and a Muslim minister controlling foreign affairs. India’s Air Force Chief, Fali H. Major, was a Zoroastrian.

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  • Komal S
    Jan 5, 2013 - 11:17PM

    Ok for those folks commenting that Muslim women are also raped so we should not communalize rape. If 25 Hindu women raped per month as per this article(300 per year). Proportionately 300*98 muslim women should be raped per year which is approximately 30000 rapes every year. This number would be significantly higher than the numbers reported in India overall.Author is highlighting the point that Hindu women are targeted and numbers probably shows a significant skew towards hindus or for that matter may be true for other minorities. Of course you can choose to be blind.

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  • Goatam
    Jan 5, 2013 - 11:58PM

    Thanks for writing truth and facts for Hindus of Sindh. Feel to salute you

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  • Javelin
    Jan 6, 2013 - 12:27AM

    @Rafi:
    “…and we all are equal citizens of Pakistan irrespective of our caste, color, creed or religion.”
    You are whistling in the dark. Read your so called constitution and see how equal it is.

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  • Manojit
    Jan 6, 2013 - 12:45AM

    Expected from a radical and turning to be ultra-radical country.I don’t bye Wrong Islam or True Islam argument-Leave Talibans,If Saudi is example of true Islam,then i don’t want to talk about it.Which is more important to me isn’t the religion,it is humanity and intelligence.Pakistan is on the edge of loosing it.

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  • Jan 6, 2013 - 1:08AM

    We can Raise our Voice for VIP Shazabe but why we can’t protest for these powerless girls?

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  • Dev
    Jan 6, 2013 - 1:35AM

    I see in each of your posts a refference to anti Sikh riot in 1984. Can you please mention on more anti sikh riot in 65 years? It was one off and had an unfortunate context. That doesn’t justify it anyway.
    But considering your love for the Sikhs, are you telling me that atleast Sikh young girls are safe in Pakistan? Let me tell you, your religious brothers didn’t spare them too. Ask Harpreet Kaur and Sonal Dhillon (don’t know their name after forced rape and conversion). But I have good news for you. Hindu girls are raped in India by Muslims too. In last six months a married house wife passenger (by taxi driver), a woman in a disco (by customer while giving a lift), a young lawyer (by a security guard) were raped. First 2 in Calcutta the other in Mumbai, all by muslims. They have been arrested and cases are sub judice. No riot. No fatwa. No articles/editorials in newspaper. Tell me if a hindu has ever raped a Muslim in Pakistan? Not that I wish they did. Just asking you?

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  • Cynical
    Jan 6, 2013 - 1:50AM

    @Author

    You are one blessed soul. Wish you all the happiness and success that you aim for.

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  • indrani singh
    Jan 6, 2013 - 3:32AM

    @Lala Gee:

    You seem to have a strong obsession with Narendra Modi. Anything and everything going wrong in Pakistan, in your eyes, must be committed by Modi, but what has Modi to do with Pakistan’s shameful culture of rape and forcible conversion of Hindu minor girls into Islam, unless you are — through a perverted logic — trying to justify Pakistan’s proliferating rape incidents with what happened to Muslims a decade ago in Gujarat. Modi had nothing to do with the Gujarat violence, but most importantly, the retaliation against Muslims (you fail to mention this, perhaps, deliberately) was caused because Muslims first burnt down a trainload of Hindu pilgrims. There are also strong reasons to believe that the “inspiration” for the Muslim attack against Hindus came from Pakistan-based elements who wanted to see violent fighting between the two communities! Hindus, incensed by the killing of their brethren in the train, reacted instantly against the Muslim community. Regrettable as that is — any life lost is a life too many, be it Hindu or Muslim — Modi’s name was cleared not only by a special investigation committee but also by the courts.
    Coming to the disgusting phenomenon of rape and forcible conversion of Hindu girls in Pakistan, there is a major problem for Hindus because the law, despite being on paper, does not provide them protection in practice, the Pakistani law and order organs prefer to ignore incidents involving minority girls. So how do you expect the Pakistani public to take up cudgels for the rape victims? In India, this is clearly not the case, as the tragic gangrape case in Delhi shows, with thousands in Delhi – and millions nationwide – including men launching strong protests against the police and politicians, calling for the severest punishment for the savages who perpetrated the heinous crime. In Pakistan, people shower rose petals on killers of minorities. You have not even caught the attacker of 14 year old Malala who simply wanted to attend school. Sorry to say, but people like you give a bad name to Pakistan and Islam. In other Muslim countries, minorities are highly respected and have full freedom to practice their religion. There large minorities in Malaysia, Indonesia,etc. Even an Arab country such as the UAE respects the rights of Hindu minorities (Indians constitute the largest group in that country after the locals!) and them the freedom to practice their religious beliefs. On the other hand, Pakistan does not even tolerate different sects of Muslims (Shias, Ahmedis, etc.) and butchers them whenever and wherever it can. You are the perfect society!

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  • Diddly poo
    Jan 6, 2013 - 5:01AM

    @RAW is WAR:
    Brave lady, wrong planet…. particularly wrong region of the world.

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  • Mian Akhtar Ali
    Jan 6, 2013 - 7:18AM

    A criminal does not have any faith. A criminal is a criminal. S/he would commit a crime whenever finds an opportunity. We all should condemn criminals and should be punished by the courts. We all are human beings and must respect each other. This is a small planet and we all have to share it. We all should contribute positively and work hard to make it beautiful and peaceful for all communities/faith groups. Teachings of all faiths want to see its followers GOD FEARING, responsible and caring human beings. There is no doubt that there are differences but there many similarities too. We should learn to live in harmony and peace with other faith communities.

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  • Dev
    Jan 6, 2013 - 3:46PM

    @Lala Gee

    Up the thread you will find my comment, that goes like…

    I see in each of your posts a refference to anti Sikh riot 1984….

    It is specifically for you. But forgot to indicate your moniker at the top.

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  • Ramesh Avtar
    Jan 6, 2013 - 8:24PM

    @indrani singh:

    Indraniji, Thank you for your rebuttal of this Lala Gee. No matter how much evidence or logical arguments you put before Lala Gee, he will again come back to his cliched mindset fixated on Narendra Modi, Gujarat, Kashmir, etc. etc. Recommend

  • Mujahid Ali Khan
    Jan 20, 2013 - 12:41AM

    One woman gets raped every 22 minutes in India. One child gets raped in every 76 minutes. Only one in every four accused in the crime gets convicted. Between 1971 and 2011 cases of rape registered a 873 percent jump.

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  • vishal
    Jan 20, 2013 - 6:15AM

    After this Pakistani muslims don’t have morale right to cry for Gujrat riot.

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  • SHANE
    Jan 22, 2013 - 2:34PM

    I think the bottom line is; all such horrible crimes against minorities are ignored due to a large number of land lords and politicians in the government and bureaucracy who support such criminals. Rather, those criminals are instrumental in keeping them in the higher places, just like in movie “Omkara”. There is a whole support system operating beyond the law, keeping the rot all over. Hindu, Muslim or Christian does not matter here.

    In areas like Umer Kot and else (where most of these cases are), only the will of landlords prevail and if his men are keeping them in power then such crimes are hushed-up and not even reported at all.
    Ironically, the media, especially electronic one, goes hand in hand with these personalities, they play golf togather. It has become so commercial, sort of bought out, blackmailing, with anchors involved in extortion in several recent cases.
    Oxford would not change mentality of landlords who are in power since, soon after 1947. Other powerful sections in society go with the ones in power. So nothing for the rest, no cry would be heard. How the law of blasphemy was passed, I think just by the support of these sections in power.
    We can have arguments on such issues and get convinced but nothing is going to change until the BIG change happens and law prevails, I wish in our lifetime.

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