Brutality, wickedness, and danger are all too familiar to Hindus in Sindh. Faced with atrocities on a regular basis, they are forced to leave their motherland in search of a safer life. Below is just one example of their constant struggle and civil society’s attempt to improve their situation.
On September 18th, 2015, Pakistan Hindu Seva (PHS) Welfare Trust, Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD), Civil Society Support Program (CSSP), Progressive Human Foundation, and Coalition for the Rights of Minorities Pakistan (CRMP) organised a demonstration at the Hyderabad Press Club in Sindh. Hindu communities of Hyderabad, relatives of victims, human rights activists, coordinators of PHSWT, GHRD, CSSP, PHF, CRMP, and many others participated in the demonstration, irrespective of religion, caste, creed, and sex.
The demonstration demanded justice for the families of Naseeban Bheel and Hawli Meghwar, two innocent girls who were forcefully converted or brutally gang raped and murdered.
Naseeban Bheel, a 15-year-old girl from Shahdadpur, in the Sanghar district, was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam on July 8th, 2015. Because Naseeban was not present in court during the three first hearings, no statement could be taken from her. At each hearing where Naseeban Bheel was not present, a new date for the next hearing was announced. During this time she stayed with the perpetrators. It was during the fourth hearing that Naseeban Bheel made her first appearance in the High Court of Hyderabad on September 18th, 2015.
During the fourth hearing, the judge only took the police officials’ statements, and without hearing the victim’s statement, Naseeban was declared a Muslim. Since the perpetrators had good relationships with the police authorities, the police restricted Naseeban’s parents from seeing her. The PHS coordinators and the advocate supporting her case found it quite strange when Naseeban showed no grief over the court’s decision. Perhaps the perpetrators had been successful in convincing her to stay with them. Though the case has been discontinued, PHS will continue its investigation into it.
Since Naseebaan was 15 years old, a minor girl, whose marriage is void according to national legislation, GHRD and its local partners arranged a group meeting with the victim’s family and Supreme Court lawyers. Her parents want further investigation regarding the case.
Hawli Meghwar, a 19 year-old-girl from Kunri, in the Umerkot district, was gang raped, murdered, and abandoned on the road in front of her home on August 25th, 2015. Hawli’s father, Parbhoo, lodged a First Information Report (FIR) on September 3rd against 3 unknown people. Hawli’s teachers said that she was always dedicated to her studies and that she had dreams of becoming a doctor.
Hawli Meghwar's case had been disposed of locally. Hawli’s parents showed no grief over this for unknown reasons. They neither want help from any organisation, nor are they interested in talking about the case. However, due to consistent calls for action by the human rights organisations and minority groups, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has voluntarily taken notifice of this case. As of now, this is the only information we have.
Beyond the cases
Sanjesh Dhanja, president of PHS, said, “All victims belong to poor families from villages. Their families are being threatened and forced to remain silent. The honor of minorities of Pakistan is insecure. Minority Parliamentarians and ministers should help these helpless people.”
One of the protestors questioned, “If we were born in Pakistan, and belong to Pakistan, then why [doesn’t] the government of Pakistan…do justice to us?”
Among the protestors, advocate Krishan said that over the past two months they observed an increasing trend of gang rapes in Sindh, and the current situation reflects a further escalation of brutality and violence.
The demonstration mainly demanded justice for the victims’ families, punishment of the culprits causing the violence, basic human rights for Pakistan’s minorities, and protection for Hindu families living in villages.