Minor Hindu girl Chanda Mahraj was finally recovered from her abductors and had a tearful reunion with her family. However, the poor child’s ordeal shows no sign of ending.
After the frightened and clearly distressed girl was produced in a Sindh court to record her statement in front of a magistrate, the court decided to send her for a medical examination to ‘determine her age’. For now, she has been sent to a ‘shelter home’.
This is an oft-repeated script in Pakistan. At least 1000 minority girls, mostly Hindu and underage, are forcibly converted to Islam and married to much older Muslim men each year in Pakistan. These conversions are carried out in dargahs and seminaries run by politically-connected individuals like Mian Mithoo. Most conversions involve abduction, rape, violence and also have links to human trafficking and extortion rings.
Earlier it was reported that Chanda Mahraj is aged 15 and abducted last week from Hyderabad, Sindh. But more clarity has emerged about the case now. Chanda was actually abducted on August 12 by one Shaman Magasi Baloch, and she is aged only 13. There are also disturbing reports that she was gang-raped and possibly even kept in Balochistan for some time. Fake conversion and marriage certificates have been produced by the abductor, hinting at involvement of a well-oiled nexus.
Now that there is a high likelihood of the child having been sexually assaulted, the HinduPost team debated whether to show videos of her tearful reunion with her family in the police station and her distress after the judge’s order in court. We ultimately decided that it is important for people to see the fear and pain writ large on the minor’s face – else the Islamist-liberal propagandists will keep brushing aside these cases as ‘unconfirmed’ or ‘consensual’.
Special mention must be made of courageous activists like Faqir Shiva Kachhi and lawyers like Bhagwandas Bhel who are helping Chanda’s family in their legal struggle.
Sindh law prohibits marriage of anyone below 18 although implementation of the same is questionable. In 2020, the Sindh High Court passed a shocking judgement in the abduction of a 14-year-old Christian girl Huma Younus – the court held that even if Huma was underage, her ‘marriage’ with her abductor would still stand as she had started menstruating (sharia law says that a girl can marry once she has attained puberty or turned 15). There have been a few attempts to pass an anti-forced conversion bill, but it has always been stymied by Muslim clerics and bodied like Council of Islamic Ideology which exercise a kind of veto in such matters.
In the odd case that a girl is recovered by police due to pressure by her family, human rights activists and some local media outlets, a familiar script plays out. The girl is threatened to give a statement in court in favor of her abductors and declare that she ‘chose Islam of her own free will’. Medical panels are rigged or bribed to ensure that she is declared a major, and all necessary documentation to prove the conversion and ‘marriage’ are cooked up like clockwork. Beyond a point, the poor parents just cannot afford to pursue legal recourse and resign themselves to their fate.
Pakistan government gets a free pass from the international community and is never held accountable for this brutal persecution of a marginalized, peaceful minority. With powerful backers like USA and China, and a reticent Bharatiya government that doesn’t raise the persecution of Pakistani Hindus with the same energy that it talks about Pakistani-sponsored terror, Pakistan is emboldened to instead rant about ‘Muslim genocide in Modi’s India’.
Only sustained pressure by the international Hindu community can ensure a modicum of justice for the suffering Hindus of Pakistan. Let’s keep Chanda and her family in our prayers, and vow to fight for Dharma just as Prabhu Sri Ram did before his triumphant return to Ayodhya; an event that we all celebrate as Diwali.
(This story has been reproduced here with permission from Hindu Post.)