Monday, December 7, 2015

Deadly oversight

Extremist violence is on the rise in Sindh. Veengas Yasmeen holds the federal and provincial governments squarely responsible

Deadly oversight
Mourners at the funeral of a victim of the Jacobabad blast (Courtesy AFP)

Just days after the terrorist attack in Jacobabad, the Sindh government was celebrating its victory in local elections. Opposition parties called for a strike against the Sindh government. It seemed like business-as-usual for everyone. If anyone remembers the anguish of the Shia community, it would be the community itself.
This is a community in mourning for years now. Who cares about them? Well, our federal government is worried about Saudi princes and their hunting licenses. Has the government shown such seriousness when it comes to the National Action Plan? And if we tell ourselves that the Sindh government is merely interested in staying in power, what of Mr Imran Khan, who presents himself as a champion of Change? Have any of these political forces, which speak of “the people” and “change”, ever truly felt the loss of those people who were blown up on the 23rd October, 2015? Whatever their priorities might be, clearly the lives of Pakistani Shia are not high on the list. One can safely assume this based on the policies and actions of our rulers.
The site of a bombing in Jacobabad (Courtesy Reuters)
The site of a bombing in Jacobabad (Courtesy Reuters)
Was this the first murderous attack on the Shia community in Pakistan and Sindh? Certainly not!
The state may not pay attention to the painfully long list of bomb blasts in Sindh, but for us, the people of Sindh, these atrocities are seared into our collective conscious. We can remind the rulers that from January to October 2015, the number of bomb blasts numbered 23. In these attacks, 101 people lost their lives and 188 were injured.
The government knows very well the sensitivity and seriousness of terror threats, so how then can it fail at managing security? Upper Sindh is under threat for a long time now. If the government can provide heightened security for Karachi when necessary, why should other parts of Sindh be left at the mercy of terrorists?
Take, for instance, the fact that before the Jacobabad blast, there had already been an attack in Bolan, Balochistan. Upper Sindh’s border is connected with Balochistan, making Jacobabad and Shikarpur especially vulnerable. How could officials have ignored this?
In the light of these terrorist atrocities, one might be tempted to ask: what, after all, is the reason for this extremist violence?
Much of the answer might lie in the fact that Sindh is dotted with un-registeredmadrassahs.
Sindh is dotted with un-registered madrassahs
In July 2015, one Sindhi newspaper stated that, on condition of anonymity, an “apex committee” reported 48 madrassahs (24 in Karachi and 24 in other cities of Sindh) which have been linked with terrorist groups. Sindh has around 9,590 madrassahs, out of which only 6,503 are registered. How many of these un-registered madrassahs have been banned so far? Have federal and provincial governments even taken seriously this report on madrassahs, as presented by the apex committee?
The people of Sindh have not seen any action from the government apart from a deafening silence. Apparently, the government believes that deadly realities can be addressed by covering its eyes.
Yet another problem in Sindh that has sadly not received much attention is that of IDPs. Several people who came to Sindh as IDPs have received forged ID cards and are settling in Sindh as Pakistani citizens; no one knows where they’ve come from.
Last year, on March 15th, the Larkana Dharmshaal was set ablaze. While covering the story, I asked a local journalist for an insight into who could have been responsible. He told me that the temple had not been torched by locals, but rather by ‘strangers’ who were not originally from the area.
Even Sindh’s Chief Minister, Qaim Ali Shah, admitted that “at least 15 militants had attempted to enter Sindh as IDPs, and had then been duly arrested”.
Children at a madrassah
Children at a madrassah
It is completely acceptable for IDPs to come and settle in the province for as long as they must, but under the umbrella of IDPs and unregistered madrassahs, it is militants who are establishing their foothold in the province.
Sindh is slipping into a horrible state of affairs. Extremists are encroaching into Sindh. Once established, their hold won’t be easy to break. We cannot look at the attack at Jacobabad in isolation: this problem will only get worse as we move forward, and it will sweep away Sindh and then Balochistan in its destructive wake.
The fact of the matter is that the National Action Plan has not been implemented properly in Sindh. Despite the Karachi operation and the results that it has reaped, the government has till now been unable to eliminate extremist groups from the province.
If NAP had been firmly put into practice in Sindh, we would not see unregistered madrassahs working openly and brazenly. One cannot help but ask: who has given permission to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to work under the banner of ‘Ahl-e-Sunnat’?
The Jacobabad blast comes as a result of the failures of both the federal and provincial governments and their respective policies. The Shia community will continue to peacefully mourn those it has lost, but the government should not mistake silence for acceptance of things as they are.
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Original Link: Deadly oversight published in TFT on 27/Nov/2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Loneliness of Aror (Raja Dahir’s Palace)


     On 2nd December, 2015 newspapers had reported news which shook my soul and mind, I could not understand that what has happened to this land’s history?

I tried to see TV channels and awaiting for news on Aror, went on English newspapers websites to search news on Aror, social networks were silent on Aror and dear Civil society was unaware of Aror’s news.

I took long breath and nowhere news was reported apart from few Sindhi newspapers that reported, “Aror, historical palace of Raja Dahir has been vandalized by bulldozer and Traktor.”

For me, it was not simple news. It was news about ancient history after Moen Jo Daro, Aror has had its significant importance. Those people who know the history of Sindh, they can feel the importance of Aror.

MahaRaja Dahir was last King of Sindh and Sindhi writers call him first martyred of Sindh.

Mohammad Bin Qasim attacked on Sindh and Raja Dahir fought him till his last breath after his assassination, Mohammad Bin Qasim imposed his rule in the name of religion as he did launch war in the name of religion.

Sindh has had ancient history which has been ignored for decades. Sometimes, it is being called Kafir History and getting ignorant attitude towards historical places.

So, Loneliness of Aror has been ignored. Perhaps, some people cannot understand or even hardly pronounce name of Aror and Raja Dahir or they know that “It was a place when Mohahmmad Bin Qasim conquered the Sindh at age of 17years old.” Alas! Facts are fabricated, he was neither 17 years old, nor conquered Sindh indeed he attacked on Sindh.

Whatever, I write sorrow of this land; I may be named biased or incorrect explaining situation of Sindh. No one can see his/er own actions.

If we open the pages of history and read it, we can come across the fragrance of this land’s historical places those are also beauty of Pakistan and subcontinent.

Shall we ignore such news when Aror was bulldozed by Traktor? Should Media have not reported as Pakistani National Media reported on Thar or Sindh Festival?

Should I not ask them, why news was ignored, not even raise voice on Social Media?

Does Sindh history not part of their attention?

When I tweeted on my Twitter account and Facebook Page then people knew about it but Cultural department Minister Ms. Sharmila farooqi accepted that incident happened and according to her, I used incorrect word of “Bulldozed.”

Statesmen/women have right to call it “Fabricated or incorrect reported” one thing they cannot deny the Truth.

I am here sharing photos which I got from local person. 

Look at photos:

Area of Aror photo credit by local citizen

Area of Aror photo credit by local citizen
What shall we call it? Traktor was bulldozing historical place and it showed full ignorance of local authorities.

Hence, I approached to local journalist who said that “Adi (Sindhi word Sister) Abdullah Seriho claimed possession on area and his people vandalized area of Aror and Raja Dahir’s throne.”

Yes, local authorities reached and stopped work at Aror, when people did their half work and damaged historical place.

Question raises, When Abdullah Seriho was bringing his heavy missionary to vandalize Aror, he could not go there without permission and how was it possible that local authorities were unaware of his action?
According to report that “Abdullah Seriho has political support.”

It is a historical place and Abdullah Seriho was not going to vandalize house of poor man that local authorities did not know about anything.

Local authorities were known by local citizen that “some people were damaging historical place of Raja Dahir later they reached and news came to Media.”

If local authorities were innocent and did not know about people’s action, it means historical site is not being protected properly and anyone can come and damage it.

Sindh government must see its actions, what are they doing for protecting historical site of Sindh.

Even, report says that Abdullah Serohi who claimed his authority on piece of land at historical site. “Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan late Mohammad Kkhan Junejo issued Non-objection certificate (NOC) but those NOCs were cancelled,” as reported. Then, how he came and why did cultural department not strongly take action against them?

The problems of encroachments are on other historical sites of Sindh like Lakhan jo daro.
Government needs to take proper steps for protecting historical sites.

No doubt, cultural department and its local authorities wake up from sleep when citizens knock their doors in order to inform them that something is happening at historical sites.

If such kind of job is done by cultural department and it local institutes then who will protect historical sites?

Sindh historical sites have been damaging and dying for decades if historical sites do not get attention, then no one can save their soul.

We cannot feel loneliness of Aror, a place which speaks to us but our ignorant attitude has broken its voice. Can we really feel loneliness of Aror? Ask yourself!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Shadow of unregistered Madrassas and Jacobabad Blast in Sindh!


Whilst writing on Jacobabad Blast incident has been passed 15 days, Sindh government is celebrating its victory in local government election, opposition party has called a strike against Sindh government. Everyone is busy at his/er own business. If someone has remembered an anguish of Shia community’s people, are only themselves Shias.

They are mourning and mourning for years. Who cares about them?
Let me write here, our federal government is worried about Saudi Princes should be allowed for hunting; has government shown such kind of seriousness towards National Action Plan?
Another side, Sindh government wants keenly to remain in power and Mr. Imran Khan who pretends himself as a champion of Change, these all awami governments and changers have not remembered Shia community which was blown up on 23rd October, 2015. These all have their own issues, Shias are not their matter.

If Shia community matters for them, why does not it reflect from polices or actions?

Was it first blast on Shia community in Pakistan and Sindh? Of course, Not!

State may not pay attention to list of Blasts in Sindh, we can recall them that from January to 23rd October 2015 bomb blasts numbers 23 and people had been killed 101 and inured 188. If we pay attention to list of blast bombs in upper Sindh which has sequence numbers that 29th January, 2015 Thull, Jacobabad, 30th January, Karbala Muala Lakhi Dar Shikarpur, 12th February, Dilmurad Jacobabad, 15th May, Kolachi Ghotki, 6th June, Jacobabad, 23rd August Khalid Brohi Sukkur and now bomb blast in Jacobabad.

Government knows the sensitivity of threats, how could government not manage security? Especially, upper Sindh is under threats, where was tightened security in upper Sindh when government provided security in Karachi, why not for other cities of Sindh?

Before Jacobabad blast, in Bolan Balochistan had already bomb blast incident. Upper Sindh’s border is connected with Balochistan especially Jacobabad and Shikarpur, are closed. How official officers ignored it!

Coming on Jacobabad Blast, I would turn a picture of situation which can show the reality that why does it happen?

Sindh has unregistered Madrassa which are freely working in Sindh.

In July, 2015 one Sindhi newspaper published news on the condition of anonminty, “Apex committee presented report that 48 Madrassas (24 in Karachi and 24 in different cities) have linked with terrorist groups in Sindh. Sindh has around 9 thousand, 590 Madrassas and registered 6,503.” How many have unregistered Madrassas been banned, yet? Have federal and provincial governments taken seriously report on Madrassas, presented at Apex Committee?

People have not seen any action from government apart from a silence. Government has put its hands on eyes and singing song “All is well,” ignored realities cannot turn situation into normal.

Worst educational system has given an opportunity to religious clerics who are playing with people. I have still remembered words of man who shared me that “What do you except from poor persons? People have no hope … Sindh’s political will is going to weak. Extremists are not only killing people, peep into Sindh; they are murdering our politics. People are helpless, these Molvis are offering them monthly amount in order to send their children to Madrassas. Is government unaware of it? Who runs and permits those (Madrassas)?”

Sindh has also another problem which is being neglected, problem of IDPs (Stranger) in Sindh, many numbers of people are getting ID cards and settling them in cities as a Pakistani Citizen. No one knows who are they?

On 15th March, 2014 Larkana Dharmshaal was set on fire, when I phoned local journalist and asked him about incident; he shared me that Temple was not torched by locals, indeed, it happened when strangers who are living here they created such kind of situation.

Including, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah admitted that “at least 15 militants had attempted to enter Sindh as IDPs were arrested, reported on 22nd July, 2014.”
No matter, IDPs should come for short time but under the umbrella of IDPs and unregistered Madrassas, militants are coming. Government must look at them that who belongs to whom?

I wanted to share scenario of situation in Sindh. Government’s ignorance or you can name as you want!

Sindh is going in dire straits. Extremists are getting their positions; we know the realities what is happening in Shikarpur and Jacobabad.

It is a not only a Blast in Jacobabad. Please, lift the veil on the face of situation; you can read a message that they (extremists) are coming and have built their safe havens to destroy the peace of Sindh.

People know Sindh’s Sufism is stronger but when governments fail to protect their people and then terrorists easily come and kill innocent people.

National Action Plan has not strongly implemented in Sindh. Despite Karachi operation results, government is unable to eliminate extremist groups.

If NAP has strongly put into practice in Sindh, why unregistered Madrassas are working, who has given permission to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) works under the name of Ahlesunnat?

It is beyond me, one political member is unacceptable whose ideas are different, cannot work freely, but terrorists and banned organizations are openly working.

Jacobabad blast is a result of federal to provincial governments’ failure policies.
Shia community may remain silence hence its injuries cannot be healed unless state stands up for them.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chandervati Bagheri! A Mother in the court of justice...!


While covering a story of Sindhi Hindu lady Chandervati Bagheri, I was thinking that being a poor people order of god and the powerful hands those are unquestionable, is this situation created by a will of god then why we are asking for justice and even why I am covering untold story of Chandervati, But it is not as it is being portrayed and nor the will of any supreme authority. What supreme power wants, I do not want to go to its chapter. To me, is an important that what common people want and why influential people act as like vultures?
People keep a hope, statesmen will become shelter for them and can safe them from the attacking of vultures (Exploiters).
Sadly, state does not play its role like a shelter as people are expecting from it.
State is bifurcated between rich and poor classes, and the story of injustice started from divisions which drew the line among people.
People those who have power, they use any kind of tool which provides them authority with impunity even they can use name of God and a division among people in the name of God. Discrimination in the name of religion is more perilous.
An exploitative class is dragging religion into issues because they have learnt that by fetching religion to any issue it can make issue sacred.
Issue becomes a matter of God hence those people are exploiting other poor people by using name of God.

While if we look at a situation of Non-Muslims in Pakistan, we can see disorder against non-Muslims in society, extremists are killing non-Muslims as well other sects (Shia and Ahmadis) which belong to Islam. 
A big picture shows, extremists are killing in the name of religion and another side of picture has very horrible scene that many non-Muslims (Hindus) girls are forcibly being converted to Islam.
This is alarming situation that girls are unsafe besides keeping a view of the violation of human rights.
Kidnapping and forced conversion of girls even the state seems to be helpless that cannot do any thing for those girls. Activists and human rights easily speak or hold rallies against honor (dishonor) killing but people hardly speak of those girls who have been kidnapped and forcibly converted to another religion.
In Sindh, province of Pakistan, three Hindu girls had kidnapped in a week of March. Have we heard the voice for them, yet?

Left daughter Sanwali, Chandervati and (Right) Uncle Gullo. photo by Author.
Let me ask, where is the voice for Chandervati Bagheri? A lady who was kidnapped for months, she was forcibly married and converted to Islam but who cares!

Chandervati is already married and has two daughters one is four years old and another is three years old.
She is a Hindu lady and belongs to poorest and unprivileged community of Bagheri. When I learnt about her case, I thought that I should pick my pen up and cover her untold story though I understand that whoever reads her story and can help her!
So far, I went and met her as she lives with her uncle in undeveloped area of Karachi and a person who took me there, he requested that not to reveal her residential address because she has received threats, therefore I cannot write name here.
Where she lives in undeveloped area, poor condition of streets speaks their story of poverty and living standards. You do not need to ask that how much those people earn as whole picture tells about a life of victimized people.

When I entered her home, it was congested and as usual electricity was shut off at least government institutes are very punctual to switch off electricity, however they do not give justice and any facility to people but they always remember well to press the button off.

One young guy told me, Adi (Adi, it is a Sindhi word means Sister) please don’t mind that light has gone and I answered him that no … no please don’t worry and few children were following me. I was accompanied by activist Raj Kumar, he spoke in Sindhi language with family and asked them that where chandervati was!
We were sitting in dark room which was already full with extra stuff and a battery was charged to generate twilight in the room.

One lady greeted me Namaste and I responded, Namaste, another lady was sitting in the corner of room, she said loudly regarding me that she is saying Namaste. It means, she is a Hindu. A group of lady looked at each another and passed smile.

I was just thinking about a lady who called me “Hindu” because her voice sounded insecurity and ignorance on the land, a land that belongs to her but now she is being considered as stranger and minority in her own home.
When indigenous people are ignored and their lives are crossing a narrow gate of life then they look for their space in a single word of greeting as my thoughts were changing like clouds, I looked at Chandervati who came and greeted me. At first she was little shy to meet me and when I started speaking with her in Sindhi language, she looked relaxed and started sharing her story.

When she was kidnapped, she could not remember that date because now, it has been passed several months and chandervati told me that “she is uneducated that is reason I am unable to recall the date but yes I still remember that day, it was Mela and all family members including my husband and elder daughter went to Mela and with my three sisters I was at home.”

At night when I was kidnapped, I was sleeping with my daughter. I was alone at my home and my three sisters were at their own home. One kidnapper whose name is Imran, he and his two men entered home and holding pistol in his hand, he held my little daughter and ordered me that keep silently moving out and he came out of home. One car was standing in the street when he tried to kidnap my daughter, I loudly screamed and thief Imarn, kidnapped me and my daughter.

Our home is along with Temple and it was a midnight that people were not in the area.
Chandervati kept sharing her story that “it was really horrible time for her that kidnapper Imran, always blackmailed her because he has my little daughter whose name is Sanwali whenever I begged him that please leave me I am already poor lady and married. You can not get anything from me.”
Kidnapper Imran who kidnapped me, he had support of influential people in Dharki, a district of Sindh.

“Kidnapper Imran, kept shifting me in different cities of Sindh sometime Rani poor and others for seven month and forcing me that I must marry him. I told him, it is impossible, I am already married and a Hindu, neither would merry you and nor change my religion.” Chandervati’s eyes were speechless and while sharing her story, she said that no one would help us.
You cannot imagine that Imran kidnapper, used to beat me and my daughter, he kept gun on my daughter that if I had not obeyed him, he would have killed my daughter then what I could do as alone and being a mother to my daughter, I bore his tortures physically and he also raped me many times.
He was drunk and wanted me to work as prostitute because he sold his sisters and also mother, too. He was really very bad character, thief and had support of local police men and authorities even he had gun in his pocket that was why no one could speak before him.

He took me to Bhachando Dargah where he wanted me to convert my religion but I refused and then he moved another Dargha of Amorit Sharif where he gave five or six thousand rupees to Molvi who forcibly converted my religion though I refused to convert to another religion and I told them that I am already married, I cannot do it. Molvi and Imran threatened me and Imran forcibly got thumb stamp on marriage pages.

At one night, he went outside and gate was open, I got chance to run and then I took my daughter, straightly I came to my uncle whose name is Gulu Bagheri here in Karachi because I knew that If I had gone to Dharki to my mother and husband, Imran would find me there. That’s reason, I did not go there. When I came here and shared whole truth with my uncle.

Her uncle name is Gullo Bagheri and he sells used-cloths in local market. He said that we are helpless and no one is helping us because we are Hindu. Muslims put us in trouble that we are Hindu and upper class of Hindu, they do not listen to us because we are Bagheri (lower caste). Where should we go? Every year our four and five girls are being kidnapped when our daughters are unsafe then why should we live here?
Group of people said in one voice that we want to go to India even though activist Raj Kumar offered them the facility of shelters in Karachi but they all refused.

So, her uncle continued his conversation regarding Chandervati case that they hired one lawyer but he did not listen to their case and just said them, he would get divorce though we were saying our lawyer that she did not married him so how is it possible to get divorce.
He kidnapped our daughter and forcibly converted to Islam. It is illegal and crime but a lawyer did not listen to us and he wrote statement what he wanted to write, we people are uneducated and we could not read that what he was typing statement but later we came across that he is filing a case of divorce which was wrong and we rejected his fabricated statements after then we contacted to activist Raj Kumar, he helped us.
Now, our case has another lawyer G. MustafaLakho who says that case will go in our favour but we do not have any hope that we are poor and no one is helping us.
Chandervati complained that no media person was willing to report her case. Although, I still have life threats from thief Imarn, he warned me that if I go to the court or even the court allows me to live with my family, he would kill me.
Chandervati was in sorrow when she said that “my elder daughter is not with me and my husband is keeping hide himself because Imran, has threatened to them.”
She hugged her little daughter Sanwali and said that “I want to get justice, I am a Hindu lady and have not converted my religion and nor married him.”  
Her little daughter Sanwali hugged her mother and then I greeted them and returned home to cover her story but I waited till 30th March, 2015 because next hearing was after few days, though I had already doubt that this time again might judge not come and their case will get another date.
Hence, I phoned to lawyer and asked his view about case. He told me that Chandervati case is very clear that it is forced marriage and forced conversion; she has two daughters and also is a Hindu woman. Illegal marriage is not allowed in our law therefore she may get justice but little hurdle is that she was forcibly given statement in Court of Sukkur,  city of Sindh, “I converted Islam and got married Imran on my own will.” In fact, she was threatened and her daughter was in kidnappers’ custody that’s why she was afraid and could not speak truth at the court of Sukkur although now she is giving her statement. As you know that this is a fight between power and powerless people but we hope that on 30th March, 2015 our case would get justice if the judge comes to the court.
Indeed, Chandervati case has received another date on 21st April, 2015. Will she get a justice or not? A mother in the court of justice, when will queen of justice start listening to the voice of Mother? 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forced conversion: truth in the eyes of Anjalee Bai!

By Veengas

I do not know, what I should write on the issue of forced conversion as I have been observing and writing on such kind of cases since Rinkle Kumari February 2, 2012 to now Anjalee Bai, October 23, 2014; we have many names of those who have been kidnapped in the name of religion.

It is very easy to kidnap a young girl, send her to religious Dargaha, convert to Islam and later none can ask for girl. Let me write here, when I was covering Rinkle Kumari case, someone said that her kidnapping has been turned in the name of religion and these religious clerics will not let Rinkle go with her mother.

When culprits commit a crime, they get safe haven under the shadow of religion and after that his crime become unquestionable, if you ask any question; you would be counted on the list of kafirs.

If we raise voice through our writings and journalistic work, we are labelled as an agent because we want to know the truth. Why under-the-age girls have been kidnapped and later even their parents do not have an information that where girls are.

This is not only a matter of kidnapping; indeed, dangerous thing is that kidnapping is in name of religion. A state has already convoluted history and suffered a lot under the umbrella of extremism. Statesmen have had been penning policy with the ink of religion.

If the state does not draw a line between its own policy; things hardly get a change because the dark era of Zia that had encouraged religious groups and used the name of religion.

The state of Pakistan ought to understand that it has already deep-rooted problems and if they keep adding religion, extremists will use its name, then how can fragile state stop? Indeed, religious based minds and extremists are already brutally using it.

People are not dying because of half bread but bitter reality is, people are dying by the sword of religion. Everyone understands that name of religion is being used wrong; it is being used by those people who do not prefer to answer.

And now, come to the topic of forced conversion... Sindh is a province of Sufi/Bhagism where even dictator Zia tried to sow seeds of extremism; he failed to launch his agenda.

What has happened, Sindh is facing such kind of cases like forced conversions of Hindu girls, who are indigenous people of this land.

For now, I would prefer to keep focus on forced conversion, but yes, I would share here that an attack on Hindus is a plan to kill the soul of Sufism and first chapter has been started in the shape of forced conversion.

I did write that if Rinkle Kumari had not been sent with her mother then we would see other cases.

The List made by Veengas
Here, I would share a list of girls who had been kidnapped after Rinkle Kumari case. This list is not a final one because many girls who have been kidnapped, their news has not been reported.
Not a single girl gets justice because all were kidnapped in the name of religion, then girls were sent with those people who kidnapped them. In one case, of Hermi Kohli, a local court rejected her marriage because she was 13 years old but police did not file FIR (First Information Report) and she was married with a 30 years old man, as reported. Have we heard voices for those girls who have been kidnapped?

Sad, that our country’s people wake up when international media gives its spotlight, otherwise people condemn for a few hours like a movie show. Maybe, these girls belong to poor families that is the reason their pain has no value!

So far, in this newspaper, it has been written on Anjalee Bai case, whose age is 12-and-a-half years. Anjalee Bai was forcibly converted at Bharchondi, as in the case of Rinkle Kumari. Anjalee’s father filed an FIR against Riaz Siya, a man who married Anjalee Bai. “One local journalist told me on phone that Anjalee was afraid and did not speak a single word. People of Dargah Bharchondi came with guns and had religious slogan. We recalled the scene of Rinkle Kumari once again.” While, the Sindh High Court issued two statements; in first Anjalee was allowed to go with her husband and later the SHC said that she “cannot be allowed to go with her husband unless her age is determined”.

Why court is confused on the issue of age, here I would like to share the certificate of Anjalee Bai’s age, which was presented by her father.
Add caption

 It is beyond us why courts always ignore the age certificate given by the family. In such kind of cases, the family always gives a certificate at the first stage and the other certificate (of 18-year-old age) appears late, which is presented by a group that is involved in forced conversion.

In Anjalee’s case, the authorities still need to resolve her age matter. Though she is underage, the girl said that her age is 18 years, she converted to religion on her own will and wanted to go with her husband. Because of her statement, things cannot be solved, but court sent her to a shelter house. Now, her age issue should be solved. Will it be solved? We will have to wait till next decision by the court.

While reading the girl’s statement, it reminded us the old versions of the statements, which were already recorded by the girls who had been kidnapped. An unnamed source shared with me that when Anjalee met her parents, she told them that “if I go with you then they will kill you”.

Anjalee was sent to a shelter house and she was not relaxed there. There is also doubt that people of Bharchondi have influence over the shelter house and it is possible that men could contact her there.

If there is any kind of influence then how can anyone trust on girl’s statement, a girl who is already afraid?

Anjalee Bai is not 18 years of age. At least this time, the girl should be provided justice. In previous cases many girls were not allowed to go with their mothers because the name of religion was used. For now, the Sindh government has passed child marriage act. For the sake of law, queen of justice must peep into the eyes of Anjalee Bai who is speaking the truth that we all know. But who will read loudly the truth in the eyes of Anjalee that she wanted to go with her mother but she is not speaking the truth which is in her eyes?

"Original Published in Daily Times Forced Conversion: Truth in the eyes of Anjalee Bai on January 23, 2015."