No progress in Hindu girl’s abduction case

via http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=233642 published on April 11, 2010

By Rabia Ali – Karachi

When 21-year-old Bano went missing from her home last August, her parents chose not to follow the tradition of keeping silent. Instead, they became the first from the Hindu community residing in Lyari to fight for the alleged abduction of their young girl and took the matter to the court.

However, that was some eight months ago. Now the family is losing hope into believing that Bano would ever reunite with them and they have reasons for being pessimist. The coworker accused of kidnapping Bano has been unable to produce her in the court and states that Bano has embraced Islam and has married her alleged lover Jaffar.

“I think my daughter is dead. If not, then I am sure that she has been sold and is in wrong hands,” her mother Dhan Bai told The News, with tears trickling down her face.

It was on August 16, 2009 when Gulzar, Bano’s coworker, picked her up from her home and left for the office. That was the last time that the family saw her. According to Bai, Gulzar has denied of having custody of the girl and states that she married her alleged lover Jaffar and is living in Rajanpur. However, Bano’s family refuses to believe his statement.

“If Bano had decided to run off, then she would have taken all her belongings. Also, she was very close to me. If she liked someone, then she would have definitely told me about the person. She might have been pressurised into accepting another religion or may have been killed.”

The eldest of her four siblings, Bano was working as a nurse at a local welfare hospital, Anjuman Muslim Azad, and was supporting her family.

Meanwhile, Raju Bhugro, President of the Kutchi Maheshawari Panchayat in Lyari, says that this is the fourth case of abduction of Hindu girls in Lyari during the last two months. Except for Bano’s family, other families did not register any cases against the perpetrators due to death threats issued by the influential.

“Only Hindu girls are converted while not a single Hindu man has ever been converted. Why is this so? An air of fear has gripped our area as people are now being forced to stay within the four walls of their houses in order to be safe and secure,” he says.

Another member of the Panchayat said that since a majority of the Hindu community comprises of poor and illiterate people, they are suppressed and neglected. “No one listens to our issues, not even our own minority representatives who are sitting at the helm of power. They are just representing their political parties and have turned their backs at the issues confronting our people.”

Regarding the issue, MPA Pitamber Sewani said that he would look into the matter. He added that reports of around 12 abduction cases have been submitted to the chief minister, who has taken notice of the alarming situation.

“My only wish is to see my daughter. If she says that she has converted on her own, I would not say anything and would be happy. But I doubt that has taken place. Only God knows what she must be going through and what she is putting up against,” Bai said.

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