Last month, The Times of London reported that Anjali, 12, was kidnapped from her home in Sindh on October 29 by a gang of men who intended to forcibly convert her to Islam via marriage to a Muslim. Our super-secular media, of course, turned a blind eye to the outrage, as it had either ignored or downplayed similar abductions and forced marriages.
It was in 2010 that such human rights violations were reported in some measure but not without some prompting from the Bharatiya Janata Party. It took months and a question by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi to wake up the Congress-led government and to make issue a feeble statement about the atrocities perpetrated on the minorities in Pakistan.
After systematically eliminating, persecuting, and oppressing Hindus and Sikhs for decades, the fanatical Muslims have started targeting the women of minority community. The method is old-fashioned and time-tested: abduct them and rape them, leaving them with no choice but to marry the rapists and embrace Islam. The method succeeded in the past; it is succeeding today.
The cowardice of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi only made the matters worse for Hindus in Pakistan. An illustration: Responding to Joshi’s query, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said in Lok Sabha, “It is the responsibility of the Pakistani government to discharge its constitutional obligations towards its citizens, including those from the minority community.”
Could a more banal reaction to something so grave be conceived? Consider the facts first: The issue of abductions and forcible marriages and conversions of Hindu women came to the fore when three young women recently lodged such a complaint. One of them, Rinkal Kumari, 19, poured her heart out in Pakistan’s Supreme Court: “In Pakistan there is justice only for Muslims, justice is denied [to] Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school]… kill me.” She reportedly told the court that she would not abandon her Hindu Dharma even if she had to die.
Mian Aslam was accused of abducting Rinkal. He is the son of Faqir Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho, a ruling party Parliamentarian. Normally, the abductors enjoy political support and sympathies of the police and courts, as evident from the recent instance. The girls told the apex court that they had been kidnapped and brutalized; their parents protested. And what did their lordships do? Instead of sending the girls over to their homes and punishing the guilty, they sent the girls to the Panah Shelter Home in Karachi.
A fortnight later, they appeared and meekly informed the court that they had embraced Islam on their free will and married the men who were being accused of abduction. Free will!
Remember Amitabh Bachchan starrer Deewar? His father was an honest and upright trade unionist who refused to compromise the interests but had to do so because the ruthless industrialist he was campaigning against had kidnapped his wife and sons. He also agreed to the conditions imposed on him by the industrialist ostensibly of his free will.
But is it free will when women are forced to choose in the face of a biased judiciary, hostile political and social environment, and open threats to their families? Thanks to the Islamization of Pakistani polity, society, and judiciary, frenzy against religious minorities is at work. As Pakistani human rights activist Marvi Sirmed told an Indian television channel, “There has been an institutionalized method behind this madness. These people, there extremist organizations have been let loose on Sindh which was much more tolerant then rest of the Pakistan. Sindhi Sufism is now becoming a myth day by day. What happened during Musharraf’s years was that, you know, when in one district in Shikarpur there were seven madrassas and over 10 years we see over 28 madrassas in that district. And these are the number of madrassas in that district which are registered. And there are [a] huge number of madrassas which are not registered. And as I have already said that I call then centres of excellence for radicalization.”
Incidentally, these are not just the views of an anti-Establishment activist. Many comments posted by readers of Pakistan newspapers have expressed their disgust at the happenings in their own country. Decent people have not vanished from Pakistan; it is just that their voice has been drowned in the frenzy created by Islamists.
And what did the UPA government do? Always keen to keep Muslims in good humor, it carefully chose words in the mention of the outrage perpetrated in Pakistan. So, the Honorable Foreign Minister told Parliament that his government had taken up “appropriately” with the Pakistani authorities on abduction, forceful marriages, and conversion to Islam of three Hindu girls in Sindh province. What did it do “appropriately”? No details.
“The Pakistani government stated that it was fully cognizant of the situation and looked after the welfare of all its citizens, particularly the minority community,” Krishna said. Notice “particularly.” Islamabad being “particularly” concerned about Hindus and Sikhs is a sick joke. It is like saying that Hitler was solicitous about the plight of Jews at Auschwitz!
Pakistan is a nation that is doctrinally, constitutionally, politically, socially, and religiously committed to eliminate any Hindu presence. According to its own census figures, the Hindu population came down from 22 per cent in 1951 to 1.7 per cent in 1998. But it told a white lie to Sonia Gandhi’s government, and her minion ministers took that as gospel truth.
Not only that, it also made it clear that it didn’t give a damn to what happened to the Hindus in Pakistan (In fact, it didn’t give a damn to what happened to Hindus in India as well, but let’s concentrate on the Hindus in Pakistan at present). Krishna gave a clear hint of that; he said that the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan calls for non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
It was like adding salt to the injury. What the UPA regime was telling the Hindus was simple: fend for yourself.
Thankfully, we no longer have the UPA in power. The Times pointed out that thousands of Hindu girls have been forcibly converted to Islam in southern Pakistan. The Narendra Modi should ensure that such incidents don’t get repeated in Pakistan.