PAKISTAN: A Hindu teenager is told to marry her alleged rapist; police and courts fail to act
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that four men who allegedly assisted in the rape of a young Hindu girl have been granted pre-arrest bail by a session court. Rape is a non-bailable offense in Pakistan and this is against criminal procedure and the law. Attempts by the family to file an FIR and obtain a medical report have been obstructed by local police, who later arrested the victim’s father on a false offense. Meanwhile members of an illegal tribal court have reportedly proposed that the victim marry her rapist and convert to Islam. She has threatened public self immolation if the perpetrators are not arrested and brought to justice by the authorities.
According to information received from local NGOs, the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network and All Kohli, Ms. Kastoori, seen in the video clip below (also here), is 17 years old and was abducted on 24 January 2010.
After being taken in the evening by Ramzan Khoso, Habib Ullah Khoso and Ghulam Nabi Khoso, with the help of their armed guard Verio Gur-Ro, Kastoori was allegedly raped by Ramzan, the eldest of the brothers. She was recovered the next day from the mens’ residence by a group from her community, where she was found tied up.
On 26 January Kastoori’s parents tried to register a First Information Report at Nagar Parker police station but were turned away. Because of this they could not obtain an official medical checkup for her at the civil hospital or the Nagar Parker hospital, which they attempted to arrange on 27 January.
The family rejected an out of court sum offered to them by the father of the three perpetrators, Muhammad Bachaal Khoso, who is an office bearer for the local ruling political party and reportedly wields political influence. He arranged a jirga – an illegal tribal court – on 9 February, allegedly within the knowledge of Nagar Parker police officers. The jirga members allegedly pressured the victim’s family to accept the marriage of the victim to her rapist and her conversion Islam. The family rejected this proposal and continued to try to use legal channels.
With the help of NGOs Kastoori’s father was able to file a petition with the Sindh High Court on February 12, which ordered the filing of an FIR and a medical examination on 17 February. The report noted that due to the length of time since the alleged rape it could not find the necessary evidence.
Although an FIR was finally lodged on February 17 under Section 365-B, the perpetrators were not arrested because they had successfully applied for pre-arrest bail from the Sessions Court in Mithi, even though the court is not authorized to do so at that level. We are told that the police then arrested the father of the victim (along with 12 others) on February 18 for stealing valuable sap from a Guggal plant, although Guggal is not cultivated in the area.
At the Hyderabad press club Kastoori (featured in the You Tube video, embedded) has threatened to publically kill herself if the perpetrators are not arrested. Mr. Hameed Chand, Assistant Sub Inspector in Naga Parker, and the investigation officer have told human rights activists that they are being prevented from pursuing the case by ruling party members and local landlords. The victim and her family are in hiding, and civil society protests have reportedly not resulted in further action from the authorities.
The AHRC received frequent reports of forced marriages of minority girls with Muslim men in areas along the Indian borders that have large Dalit Hindu populations, such as Thar Parker, Nagar Parker, Umer Kot, Mithi and Karoonjhar. The term Dalits are members of a scheduled caste, and due to the position of many as bonded labourers, female Dalits are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is not unknown for Muslim seminaries to urge the forced conversion of Dalit women.
The AHRC has documented several such cases, including UA-008-2006 and UG-020-2006 and is aware of many more, in which Hindu scheduled caste and Christian women and girls have been abducted by Muslim men and raped. When confronted by the authorities perpetrators are often able to produce a marriage certificate from a seminary confirming the marriage and conversion of the victim. The girls are often taken out of contact with their families entirely, and various cases have been documented in which the courts have condoned such marriages with girls below the age of consent.
Please write to the authorities listed below asking them to intervene to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are arrested, and any police officers proven to be involved in their protection also face legal action. Please also urge for protection of the victim and her family.
The AHRC has written a separate letter to UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences and the Independent Expert on Minority Issues calling for their intervention into this case.
Re: PAKISTAN: A Hindu teenager is told to marry her alleged rapist; police and courts fail to act
Name of victim:
Miss Kastoori, daughter of Nawo Kalhi, resident of Mokrio village, Nagar Parker town, Thar Parker district, Sindh province
Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Ramzan Khoso
2. Mr. Habib Ullah Khoso,
3. Mr. Ghulam Nabi Khoso
All sons of Muhammad Bachaal Khoso and residents of Mokrio village, Nagar Parker town, Thar Parker district, Sindh province.
4. Mr. Verio Gur-Ro, resident of Mokrio village, Nagar Parker town, Thar Parker district, Sindh province.
5. Mr. Hameed Chand, assistant sub inspector, investigation officer at Nagar Parker police station, Nagar Parker, district Thar Parker, Sindh province
6. Inspector Mohammad Khan Rind, Station Head Officer at the time of incident of Nagar Parker police station, Nagar Parker, district Thar Parker, Sindh province
Date of incident: January 24, 2010
Place of incident: Mokrio village, Nagar Parker, Thar Parker district, Sindh province
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the actions taken by Mithi Sessions Court and Nagar Parker police in response to the alleged rape of a teenage girl.
I am told that the victim, Ms. Kastoori is 17 years old and was raped by Mr. Ramzan Khoso with the help of three other perpetrators named above. On 26 January Ms. Kastoori’s parents tried to register a First Information Report at Nagar Parker police station but were turned away. Because of this they could not obtain an official medical checkup for her at the civil hospital or the Nagar Parker hospital, which they attempted to arrange on 27 January.
I am told that police officers were aware that the family rejected an out of court sum offered to them by the father of the three perpetrators, Mr. Muhammad Bachaal Khoso – an office bearer for the local ruling political party – and of the jirga that he then organized. In this jirga on 9 February I am told that the victim’s family was pressured, unsuccessfully, to accept the marriage of the victim to her rapist and her conversion Islam.
With the help of NGOs, Kastoori’s father Mr. Nawo Kalhi was able to file a petition with the Sindh High Court on February 12, leading to the filing of an FIR and a medical examination on 17 February. However the medical report noted that due to the length of time since the alleged rape it could not find the necessary evidence.
Although an FIR was finally lodged on February 17 under Section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, the perpetrators were not arrested because they had successfully applied for pre-arrest bail from the Sessions Court in Mithi. The court is not authorized to do so at that level. I understand that the police then arrested the father of the victim (along with 12 others) on February 18 for a fabricated crime relating to forestry.
Mr. Hameed Chand, the Assistant Sub Inspector in Nagar Parker and the investigating officer of this case has reportedly told human rights activists that he is being prevented from pursuing the case by ruling party members and local landlords. I urge that these allegations be immediately investigated. I am told that the victim and her family are in hiding and need state protection.
I understand that this is one of numerous cases coming from border areas with large Hindu Dalit populations, involving the rape of a Dalit girl and the attempt to forcibly convert her to Islam by marriage. This issue clearly needs addressing at the highest levels. Many Dalits in these areas are engaged in bonded labour, and women of the caste need strong institutional support and protection from abuse.
Intervention is therefore urgently needed to ensure the arrest of the perpetrators, and of any police officers proven to have obstructed the course of justice. It is absolutely necessary that the authorities send a message of zero tolerance for impunity, particularly regarding violations against women and minorities.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111 +92 51 920 6111
2. Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan
Governor of Sindh province
Karachi, Sindh Province
Fax: +92 21 920 5043
Tel: +92 21 920 1201 +92 21 920 1201
3. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Karachi, Sindh Province
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
4. Mr.Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani
Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
5. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Fax: +92 21 9213220
6. Ms. Nadia Gabol
Minister for Human Rights
Government of Sindh,
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,
Karachi, Sindh Province
Fax: +92 21 9207044
Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043
7. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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