by, The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that two scheduled caste, Hindu women were raped by their Muslim landlords before their family members. Later on, one of them was murdered in revenge for making a report to the police. She and her mother were abducted by one of the landlords from outside the clinic of a doctor in broad daylight, close to the police station, and she was shot dead in front of her mother. The Shadi Pali Police Station of Umer Kot district, Sindh, took time to register the First Information Report (FIR) in order to give the rapists time to abscond. The family members of the victims are displaced from their village and are living on the roadside in the cold nights but the police and authorities have refused to help them. In providing protection to the rapists, the police and notables of the area forced the victims to reach to a settlement and give amnesty to the rapists. Once again the police have shown their efficiency to get approval from judicial magistrate so that perpetrators are freed.
Ms. Kakoo Kohli (24) and her elder sister, Nallan (26), who belong to the Jane sect of the Hindu religion, were residents of Goth Lalu Shar, Umarkot district, Sindh province. They were both raped by Mr. Mohammad Khadim Shar and his brother Mr. Sirajuddin Shar, the sons of the landlord and the owner of the village, Mr. Lalu Ilyas Shar.
The girls and their family members were working in the fields of Shar and were provided a hut to live in. The main culprit, Mohammad Khadim Shar, was lusting after Shrimati (Ms.) Kakoo and on several occasions asked for sexual favors. However each time Shar was denied. The poverty of Kakoo and her sister and lack of economical support prevented them from leaving their workplace. After a long session of frustration, anger and shame, generated by the constant denial and rejection from Ms. Kakoo, Mohammed Khadim Shar finally decided to take her by force.
Dalit women, who are mostly defenseless, are considered ‘sexually available’ and are targeted for sexual violence by the Muslim community. Dalits in particular and the entire Hindu community in general are vulnerable and voiceless and unable to oppose the atrocities which are perpetrated on them. The Kohli Hindus are considered to be the lowest people in the Hindu religion.
On October 18, the perpetrator, Mohammad Khadim Shar took his brother Sirajudding Shar with him and attacked Ms. Kakoo’s house at gun point and restrained all the members of the Kohli family, including the mother and father. Khadim raped Kakoo and Siraj raped Nallan in front of their family members. After the rape, the attackers threatened the family that if they report the incident to anybody they would be killed. However, after the incident, Kumar Veerji Kohli, the father of Kakoo and Nallan took the victims to the Shadi Pali police station to report the rape. However, as usually happens, the police refused to file the report until they completed their investigation. After two days the police agreed to file an FIR which infuriated the main perpetrator, Khadim Shar. The police arrested Sirajuddin Shar but allowed Khadim to abscond. Sirajuddin was able to obtain bail.
In the meantime, the Umarkot police, on the instructions of the landlord, arranged a Jirga, an illegal court declared by the high court of Sindh, consisting of elders of the area. The Jirga compelled the victims and her family to reach a settlement with the perpetrators and this was sanctioned by the Judicial Magistrate. The police officials were happy to serve the landlords and the case against the perpetrators was withdrawn.
Khadim Shar was insulted that a Hindu woman from the lowest caste had filed a case against him and this, in his eyes, was a challenge to the supremacy of Islam. On November 29, while he was at his fields, he received information that Kakoo and her mother were attending the clinic of a local doctor. He took the jeep belonging to his friend and abducted the woman and her mother at gun point in full view of many persons. After reaching his fields he shot Kakoo in the head. He was arrested but still has not been charged as there were no eye witnesses and police classify the mother as a biased witness.
A large number of scheduled castes are working as agriculture workers and are in the worst condition of debt bondage due to their poor working conditions. While men are exploited as bonded workers and are victims of the forced and bonded labour, the women particularly young girls are often sexually abused by landlords and local influential people. The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN), the Dalit Network of over 30 organizations supporting rights of marginalized groups particularly the minorities and scheduled castes, says that they have noticed that sexual violence against Scheduled Caste women and young girls is on rise in rural areas of Sindh. Newspapers have been publishing over a dozen news items about acts of sexual violence against Dalit women during the last three months alone in the province of Sindh. In many cases women were gang raped. The irony is that hardly any culprit is booked, leave along punished by the legal system.
According to Covert Wires, it is noteworthy that the Dalits consist of more than one-third of the Pakistani Hindu population but the Pakistanis for propaganda purposes do not consider them Hindus and try to Islamize them. About 14 Lakh Dalits have not been included in the Hindu population in last census which counts the Hindu population as 26 Lakh whereas its actually 40 Lakh.
Please write letters to the following authorities calling upon them to conduct an enquiry in the case of rape of two sisters and murder of one of them in Qamar u Din Shar village, the bank of Mithrao Canal, the area adjacent to Shadiply village of Umerkot, Sindh in jurisdiction of Shadi Pali Police Station. Please also urge them to prosecute the high police officials who are protecting the perpetrators of the rape of Hindu women peasants including, the Station Head Officer (SHO) Rasheed Chandio and Saboo Shar. Please urge them to provide protection and a residence to the family members of the victims.
PAKISTAN: Two young scheduled caste Hindu women were raped by Muslim landlords, one of them was murdered later on
Name of victims: 1-Mrs. Shrimati Kakoo Kolhi (24), daughter of Veerji Kolhi, resident Lalu Shar village, District Umerkot, Shadi Pali police station, Sindh Province
2-Ms Nallan (26), daughter of Veerji Kolhi, resident of Lalu Shar Village, District Umerkot, Shadi Pali police station, Sindh Province
Names of alleged perpetrators: Mr. Mohammad Khadim Shar, son of Lalu Ilyas Shar, resident of Lalu Shar village, Shadi Pali police station, Umarkot district Sindh
Mr. Sirajuddin Shar, son of Lalu Ilyas Shar, resident of Lalu Shar village, Shadi Pali police station, Umarkot district Sindh
Date of incident: October 18 and October 29, 2013
Place of incident: In the jurisdiction of Shadi Pali police station, Umarkot police station, Sindh
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