By Mahesh Rana
Every year countless cases of rape and murder are left unaddressed by the criminal system due to the existent loopholes. Meena’s heart-wrenching account is just one example, there are many other girls who met cruelties which were neither reported nor punished.
Sexual violence against a woman, who is socially-deemed as the weaker gender, is often seen prevalent in the rural and patriarchal contexts within Pakistan. The women of religious minorities become furthermore prone to the use of threat, physical violence, abductions, and forced conversions in this regard.
In September 2020, a young Hindu girl from Tharparkar (Sindh) committed suicide after the second time she was gang-raped by a group of men. Meena, 17 years old, was coming back from her neighbour’s house alone when Adam Dal and his fellows abducted her and took her to an abandoned place. She was brutally raped and left unconscious in the field.
Meena was shattered and managed to return home after the incident that violated her in the worst imaginable of ways. Her parents took her to a nearby hospital. After running a medical examination the hospital staff called the police because it was a sexual assault case.
When Meena was raped the first time her family lodged an FIR against the culprits at Chelhar police station in Sindh. This was back in 2019 but no action had been taken against them.
“Adam Dal and his fellows were arrested by the police however they were all released after a short time as a fake medical report was presented by the police officials in the court”, spoke Meena’s father with tears welling up in his eyes.
“When the case was in court we were being pressurized by the local feudal lords and other influential people to withdraw the case”, he informed.
In 2020, the horror repeated itself and the same group of men gang-raped her again. “Meena was devastated as she could not possibly sustain hope for justice. Filled with feelings of self-abhorrence and annihilation, she attempted suicide out of despair”, her friend told.
A Hindu Rights activist, Ravi Das, confirmed that “the culprits have not been arrested and the victim’s family is still waiting for justice from the state”
“The culprits were constantly blackmailing and harassing her”, commented Ravi Das.
SHO (Police Station in-charge) Mushtaq Malik told that the trial was delayed due to the pandemic and the police would register a fresh case if her family lodges an FIR against the culprits again.
“Around 40 – 50 cases of Hindu girls being raped are reported every year in Pakistan”, says Advocate Heman Das. “Most of the victims are usually from Meghwar, Kolhi and Bheel communities of Sindh province”, he added.
Another Hindu minor brutally raped in Mirpurkhas, Sindh
A 13-year-old Hindu girl Pooja was brutally raped by six men in June 2020. As reported by Rahat Austin, a Pakistani human rights activist; 6 armed men entered her home and kidnapped Pooja while the rest of the family members watched in horror. They were beaten up as they tried to intervene and rescue her. Pooja did not return home the whole night. The incident took place in Pirbux Jarwar that falls under the jurisdiction of Dilbar Khan police station in Mirpurkhas, Sindh.
Voice of another rape victim silenced in Sindh
A 15-year-old Sitara was also sexually violated in Sindh. The incident was reported on social media in October 2020 by Rajesh Kumar Hardasani, who is a member of the Hindu Council. To date, no FIR has been registered against the culprits. Since the perpetrators were in a financially strong position as compared to the victim’s family they managed to get away with the heinous crime.
All names used in this blog have been anonymized to protect the identity of victim(s).