Meena Kolhi, a Pakistani Hindu girl who was kidnapped at gunpoint, forcibly converted to Islam and ‘married’ to one Iqbal Bhambhro 14 months ago in Khipro town of Sanghar district in Sindh province, managed to escape her kidnappers and return to her parents.
What she has narrated upon her return will chill you to the bone.
Meena had just been married for three days when she was abducted in January 2022 along with her younger sister Rekha (12) by Mushtaq Bhambro and his sons. Meena says she was then threatened with death unless she converted to Islam. She says she didn’t want to change her religion, but Iqbal Bhambro (Mushtaq’s son) said she might get hurt or even shot if she didn’t. But her ordeal didn’t end after accepting Islam and ‘marrying’ Iqbal Bhambro. She was kept in one room for 14 months and regularly gang-raped by 7 men of the Bhambro family, including Iqbal and his father Mushtaq. Even after her escape, police is harassing her instead of acting against those who tortured her.
As per sharia law, once a person converts to Islam but later leaves the religion, they are branded murtad (apostate) and become wajib-ul-qatl (permissible to kill). In the past too, there have been instances of Pakistani maulanas demanding that a Hindu girl forcibly converted to Islam and raped be handed back to her rapist as she is ‘now a Muslim’ or killed if she has ‘apostasized’.
Now, the rate at which these cases are reported from Pakistan makes it hard to keep track for the largely part-time Hindu rights activists. But Mahesh Vasu, a Mumbai-based human rights activists who has been diligently tracking crimes against Pakistani Hindus, recognized Meena’s case as one which had been reported in Feb 2022. He immediately retrieved the old footage showing Meena’s mother pleading for her two daughters return, a subsequent protest by the Sindhi Hindu community and even footage showing Meena sitting beside her ‘husband’ (rapist) Iqbal Bhambro saying she had ‘converted and married of her own free will’.
But just like in the case of Kareena Kumari who managed to escape her abductors’ clutches last year and informed a court that she had been forcibly converted to Islam and raped, Meena Kohli too has exposed the hollowness of these fabricated videos that Islamists put out every time a girl is kidnapped by them. Incidentally, Meena was converted at the notorious Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi Sufi dargah in Samaro.
Unfortunately, Meena Kolhi’s case isn’t unique. Pakistan, mainly Sindh, sees at least 1000 cases each year of forced conversions and marriages of minority females, especially Hindus. Perpetrators feel impunity due to ineffective prevention and punishment.
The handful of Pakistanis who are horrified at such crimes carry very little influence in their country, and are easily shut down by invocations of Islamic supremacy from the mullah-Army nexus. The US-led West claims to be the ‘human rights champion’ of the world, but its utter hypocrisy is shown by the way it allies with an Islamofascist nation like Pakistan, and chooses to demonize a pluralist, Dharmic nation like Bharat instead.
Unfortunately, the secular and socialist Republic of India, its ministers and elected representatives included, has also failed in its duty to speak up for the human rights of these persecuted Pakistani Hindus.