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Pakistan: The Rape Of 6 Year Old Girl And Police Negligence

FOR PUBLICATION
AHRC-ETC-006-2013
January 28, 2013
An article by Mr. Abbas Kassar published by the Asian Human Rights Commission
Pakistan: The Rape Of 6 Year Old Girl And The Negligence Of The Police And Doctors
A Hindu girl, Wijenti Meghwar, 6 years of age and a student of class-1 was raped in Ghulam Nabi Shah town of Sindh province in Pakistan on December 2, 2012 while playing in street. She was admitted in critical condition, first to the Mirpurkhas civil hospital then transferred to the Karachi Lyari hospital. Wijenti was discharged on January 6 more than a month during which time she received little or no attention of the doctors. To-date she has not as yet fully recovered. Her father More, and uncle, Iserdas, belong to the Hindu minority community of Pakistan took her first to district headquarter hospital in Umerkot but as there was no doctor present at that time they rushed her to Mirpurkhas civil hospital.

Mirpurkhas is a metropolitan city and 76 kilometres from her village. Wijenti was admitted to the hospital only after the intervention of a ruling Peoples' Party minister, Mardan Ali Shah as the doctors at Mirpurkhas civil hospital had refused to admit her. They had demanded a letter from the Ghulam Nabi Shah police station of Umerkot district. The parents alleged that doctors there were indifferent to treatment of their girl so they took her to Lyari hospital in Karachi after one week. The citizens of Ghulam Nabi Shah town immediately closed down their shops to in protest against the gory and shameful incident. A minority member of the Sindh Assembly, Khatoomat Jeevan, Jeay Sindh Mahaz (a political party which is striving for freedom of Sindh from Pakistan), leaders Abdul Wahid Ariser, Mir Alam Mari and others condemned the incident and demanded the arrest of the culprit. The Umerkot district police initially arrested a young man, Naval Meghwar, belonging to victim's family and two others but the father and uncle of the girl accused police of making these arrests in an attempt to calm the situation. The police is now avoiding the arrest of the alleged culprit who is by caste a Mangrio who has been named in the case as he is said to be son of a politically influential landlord of the area.

It was appalling that the concerned police did not register the case for three days and instead of arresting the culprit arrested a man whom father of the girl clearly described as innocent of the crime.

The parents of the girl stated that the footprints of accused led to an Otaq (guest house) of a powerful local landlord Sniffer dogs also identified the trail but in an effort to save the landlord the police instead later arrested Rano Mallah. The incident sent a wave of terror and shock among the minorities whose girls have given up going to school or even out of their homes. Ms. Zarina Mallah, the mother of the arrested Rano Mallah had expressed suspicion that her son was innocent and accused police that it might kill her son in a fake encounter. (Killing innocent people in fake encounters and then throwing their dead bodies outside their villages (homes) are a common occurrence in Pakistan). Zarina Mallah said that the footprint size of the original accused is size 9 while that of her son Rano is 7.

It may be recalled that the lives of minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians and Sikhs and others have been made miserable. Thousands of Hindus have migrated to India which they consider safer than Pakistan. The rape and abduction of Hindu girls is common in Pakistan especially in Sindh where the rulers have shut their eyes to such crimes against humanity. The leader of Hindu Panchayet, Kishan Chand Parwani, a member of parliament has said that not a month passes when more than 20 Hindu girls are not kidnapped, raped and then forcibly converted. He said 50,000 or more Hindus from Mirpurkhas division alone were ready to migrate to India as Pakistan has now turned into a "land of bigots".

Vijenti Meghwar is weak because she belongs to the minority Hindu community and in this community again to a peasant family of Meghwar, Bheel and Kolhi that are considered and treated in Pakistan as Dalits (untouchables). They work on the farmlands of Muslim landlords and have been used as bonded labour for generations. Vijinti cannot get justice due to another factor of a crumbling society where law and order has worsened, especially in Sindh.

In another development, a brother the landlord accused in the rape case injured the journalist Mushtaq Kumbar in a murderous attack on him in Ghulam Nabi Shah town. The journalist was reporting the follow up of the rape case. He also threatened another journalist Arbab Bheel with murder if he continued to report the facts of case. The police and administration have not taken notice of the attack on the journalists and the threats of death as the police themselves are frightened of the sons and the landlord. The system in Pakistan is such that it allows kidnapping, rape and the killing of girls. The accused roam here freely while the victim is left to die because of inefficient police officers who are recruited on a political basis.

The chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah was in Mirpurkhas city when Vijenti was still lying in her bed in the civil hospital in this city but he did not bother to visit her. This is the climax of discrimination against minority girls as in contrast to this Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari visited the hospital in UK where another Pakistan girl, Malala was under treatment. She was injured in an attack on a school in the Northern Province of Pakistan, Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa. The President also donated USD 10 million for Malala out of government funds but for Vijenti not a single dollar has been announced nor any treatment on state expenses. The Communist Party of Pakistan secretary, Imdad Kazi has condemned the incident of rape and observed that minorities in Pakistan are treated worse than animals. The relatives of rape victim who were staying at Karachi to look after treatment of their daughter have said they received death threats to withdraw from the case or they all will be killed and in view of these threats they will not go back to their town Ghulam Nabi Shah until the real culprit nominated by them in the case is arrested.

……………..

The AHRC is not responsible for the views shared in this article, which do not necessarily reflect its own.

About the Author:
ABBAS KASSAR is a journalist and human rights activist in Hyderabad city of Pakistan
Read this statement online at AHRC

Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

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ENDS

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