KARACHI: Thousands of Hindus lit candles this Diwali but Gori spent the day crying. Her 12-year-old daughter, Nandini, has been missing for nearly a year.
Gori recalled the same festival, last year, when Nandini celebrated by selling flowers and using the money to make clothes for herself.
A resident of Teen Hatti, the little flower girl was kidnapped in front of her 10-year-old, handicapped sister Mumta in December 2009. Since then, she has been missing and even though the family has identified the kidnapper, there is little they can do about it.
According to Gori, the kidnapper is a notorious criminal and he tricked her into going with him. Gori’s husband made friends with a man named Vania when he was in jail. Two days before Nandini was kidnapped, Vania started visiting their house and that is how Nandini became familiar with him.
On the third day, Vania came with a burqa-clad woman and a small child and took Nandini away saying that they are just coming back from the hospital. “We looked everywhere but she didn’t come back after that,” she narrated.
The family was still grieving the loss of their missing daughter when the government told them to relocate to Surjani Town because their house fell in the way of Lyari Expressway. Gori’s husband and other children moved to the new house, but she and Mumta stayed behind. They don’t want to take chances in case Nandini returns and cannot find her old house.
The family sells flowers for a living and cannot even afford to keep a phone so Gori cannot stay in touch with the rest of her family. Her husband, two sons and three other daughters are living in Surjani Town but visit her occasionally.
“How can I celebrate Diwali when my Nandini is not with me,” was all Gori could say as the two-day festival took place. Nandini used to make garlands every year, she recalled.
Grieved by the loss of her daughter, Gori has lost her health. Now she is partially paralysed and cannot walk without the help of crutches.
An NGO, Roshni Helpline Trust, has been trying to help Gori locate her daughter. Every time one of their volunteers visits, she sits up in anticipation. Muhammad Ali, president of Roshni Helpline, said that so far they have no good news for Gori. Despite identifying the criminal and holding meetings with police officers, the victim and the culprit are missing, he added.
Ali said the family had nominated a man named Younas in the FIR No. 242/2009 under section 365B at Supermarket police station in Liaquatabad. Roshni helpline has been pushing the police into action. They even provided them with the criminal record, photograph and data on the culprit, yet there has been no success.
Ali said that they have held meetings with the SPP and even written to the chief justice to take suo motu notice. The inconsiderate behaviour of the police on issues of the poor is the biggest bottleneck in finding justice for the minorities, he added. “I feel helpless because as an NGO, there is only so much we can do lawfully and then it is the police’s responsibility.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2010.
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