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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Horrific anti-Hindu pogrom in Ghotki, Pakistan after ‘blasphemy’ charge against school principal

Pakistan has gained notoriety for treating its religious and ethnic minorities with contempt, often unleashing violence against them. Kidnapping and forceful conversion of Hindu girls in particular and minorities in general has been going on unabated for a long time now.

Sindh’s Ghotki is the most notorious for such forceful conversions as observed by Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court and for persecution of Hindu minorities. Ghotki happens to be the epicentre of latest violence perpetrated by Muslim extremists against Hindus, where a mob went on a rampage destroying properties of Hindus on allegations of ‘blasphemy’ committed by a Hindu teacher.

Ghotki Violence

A teenage student of Sindh Public School levelled charges of blasphemy on the Principal of his school, Mr. Notan Das, alleging that Mr. Das had insulted Islamic Prophet Mohammad. His father filed a complaint and an FIR (First Information Report) was filed against the said Principal without so much as investigating into the veracity of those claims.

In addition, the teenage student Abdul Aziz Rajput’s father is said to have approached Maulvi Mian Mithu who then incited a mob by ‘calling for action through loudspeakers’. As new spread, a mob, said to have been led by this notorious Maulvi Mian Mithu, went on a rampage on Saturday attacking Hindu temples, houses, properties and the Sindh Public School. The violence not just continued on Sunday, but spilled over to several adjoining towns and cities. 

The chief conspirator Maulvi Mian Mithu surely enjoys political patronage. He has been seen in the company of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Bajwa. Mian Mithu is a former Member of Parliament belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party and is a major kingpin in the organized racket of kidnapping and forceful conversion of Hindu girls

News site CurrenTriggers reports how this area is ruled by Sufi Pirs who have long used certain areas of Sindh as conversion factories targeting mainly vulnerable Hindu girls.

Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association, in a statement to CurrenTriggershas condemned the desecration of the Hindu Temple and of the Holy Books of the followers of the Hindu Dharma. The statement says:

‘PMTA condemns the irresponsible role of the police as it was visible in the video clips of the incident that the local police of Ghotki did not even try to arrest a single person but helped to flee the desecrators of the Temple.’

Prof. Anjum James Paul of PMTA has himself visited the renowned Temple in 2016 and even had lunch there. He says that the Hindus of Ghotki already lead miserable lives and they are fearful due to the abductions and forced conversions and forced marriages because Mian Mithu’s conversion center is also in Ghotki.

A Hindu Rights Activist in Pakistan Mr. Kapil Dev tweeted a video of the desecrated temple and highlighted how some vested interests were targeting Mr. Das and the Hindu community. He questioned how a mere 2% Hindu population would pose any threat to 98% of Pakistan’s majority and why they were being subjected to violence despite the fact that they (Hindu community) even observed Muharram recently. He highlighted how Hindus were under siege and were living in fear, not even coming out of their homes.

Systemic violence

Violence against minorities in Pakistan has continued unabated ever since its creation. Sindh has witnessed a major chunk of this mindless violence. Center for Hindu Empowerment has in its appeal brought out how Hindus and other minorities have been persecuted, and how it is quite easy for Jihadists to use Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law to target minorities if they simply want to settle personal scores. 

Here are some past incidents where a similar pattern of ‘blasphemy’ or ‘Quran desecration’ charge being used to whip up anti-Hindu violence or settling personal scores was observed –

May 2019“Hindu Vet charged with Blasphemy in Sindh, Pakistan; Hindu shops looted and burnt”

Aug 2018“19-year-old Pakistani Hindu Boy Upset over Sister’s Conversion & ‘Marriage’ Booked for Blasphemy”

May 2017“Hindu man accused of ‘blasphemy’ in Balochistan, was framed by Muslim business rival”

July 2016“Hindu Teenager, Sateesh Kumar, Shot Dead Over Quran ‘Desecration’ in Ghotki, Sindh”

While Pakistan goes around the world tom-tomming about human rights violations in Kashmir, it would do well to take a look at its own house where a desperately poor, docile minority like Hindus are routinely targeted over ‘blasphemy’ charges and their girls are abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and then married off to older Muslim men.

Pakistan has failed its minorities and should take corrective steps if it wants to be taken seriously by the world community. 

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