Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
In Pakistan’s Sindh province, minorities continue to face waves of violence that include abduction, forced conversion of Hindu girls, incidents of rape and further discrimination. On May 6th, a protest was organized by Shirkat Gah WELDD (Women’s Empowerment & Leadership Development for Democratization) Youth Groups and Progressive Human Foundation (PHF) in Hyderabad, Sindh to fight the injustice. The participants protested the murder of a local Hindu family, Mr. Neto Kolhi, his wife Pooni Bai and their grandson Parsoo Kolhi, who were allegedly murdered by Hakim Khaskheli and Badal Khaskheli with help from an unknown assailant. The inaction against the culprits and the discrimination against all minorities drove the protests forward.
Youth Group leader Advocate Haman Das Kolhi, Chandar Kumar, CEO of PHF, and peasant women leaders Raju Comrade, Navoo Comrade, Resham, Vero Kolhi and Seeta Kohli led the protest against District Tharparkar’s Nagarparkar police officials as they have failed to follow standard procedure in prosecuting the alleged perpetrators, despite plenty of evidence against Hakim Khaskheli and Badal Khaskheli.
Leading the protest, Youth Leader Advocate Haman Das Kolhi said, “Culprits involved in the crime committed in Nagarparkar were arrested a month ago but police are not presenting them in the appropriate court, which is unacceptable.”
He also said that human rights violations against Hindus, Christians and the Sikh community are highly condemnable, and law-enforcing agencies and the government must take action. Bhomon Kolhi, brother of victim Neto Kolhi, added that they have been protesting against the indifference of police since day one and want justice. He said they have protested in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Badin, Mithi, and Nagarparkar, and Karachi. However, the police are not taking any action against the culprits and are in fact planning to free them. Bhomon stated that protestors had gathered from several districts and were united against police inaction, and that if their voices are not heard and justice is not served, they will start a province-wide protest and seek out support from other human right defenders and organizations.
Comrade Hero, General Secretary of PHF, highlighted the injustices against minorities and the issues they face in several parts of the province, including the Hindu families in Badin that have been threatened by eviction in order to have their homes handed over to Muslim families. When these families refused to abandon their homes, agitators attempted to demolish a Hindu graveyard with a bulldozer. A threat was issued to Hindus that the graveyard space would be occupied if they did not give up their homes.
Comrade Hero further stated that the apathy of the police force in the area was shocking and that government and law enforcement agencies must protect all citizens, even if they are minorities.