Date: 12/18/2005


THE LAND OF "EUNUCHS" CALLED INDIA JUST GOES ON WATCHING AND WATCHING AND WATCHING. //// By Aroosa Masroor Khan//// Father knocks on many doors for justice//// KARACHI: The fate of three sisters from a Hindu family who were kidnapped from their house in October remains unclear with their family insisting that they are being detained against their will at a city madrassah. The madrassah insists that the girls have converted to Islam by their own free will and are not interested in meeting their family. //// The parents were allowed to meet their daughters a few weeks back after orders from the court but the meeting was carefully orchestrated. All three girls were behind a veil and were assisted by a woman from the madrassah.///// The father of the three girls, Sanao Amra, said that he felt that his daughters were being pressurized because he could see tears in their eyes - the only body part that was exposed.//// He objected to the interference of the lady of the madrassah who did not let him and his wife talk to them in private. He also said that the veil was perhaps being used to hide their facial expressions, because hiding the face behind a hijab in front of the family was not a part of the Islamic practice.//// The family was earlier informed by one of the neighbours that the girls were found and brought to Frere police station after which they were shifted to the Darul Uloom. Amra was told that he could not meet his daughters until he had orders from the court. //// Even though the magistrate reassured that the girls had accepted Islam, the father insisted on acknowledging this fact only after he met them. Recognising the family's right to meet the girls, the court ordered a meeting under the supervision of five policemen including an senior official from the Baloch Colony police station.//// On reaching the madrassah, where they have been kept for over two months now, the family was told that none of the girls were willing to meet their parents. "I couldn't believe my daughters saying such a thing and immediately understood there was something fishy," said the father while talking to The News. //// After much debate, the girls were then brought to a small cubicle room surrounded by people other than the family members. The daughters were unable to disclose anything in the uncomfortable surrounding so the woman accompanying the girls did the talking, which did not quite please the family.///// "We got up after 20 minutes instead of the decided one-hour meeting because we did not like the intrusion of others who were made our conversation an ordeal," disclosed Sanao. //// Not satisfied with this meeting, Sanao Amra filed an application with Magistrate Zulfiqar Ali for arranging another meeting either in the court, the Edhi Center or the Darul Uloom. However, this application was rejected after referance was made to a 'letter of satisfaction' from the daughters as proof to convince the parents that they were not willing to meet again.//// On 18th October when Sanao Amraís wife, Champa, returned home from work, her daughters were nowhere to be found. Unable to understand what had exactly happened behind her back, she inquired about their whereabouts from her neighbours. The neighbours initially said they had not seen the girls, but later told Champa that the elder daughters Reena, 21 and Usha, 19, were seen rushing out of home towards their younger sister Reemaís school from where perhaps all the sisters were kidnapped. //// Sanao Amra searched for his daughters for 2-3 days after which he went to the police. They turned down his pleas for help by saying that the government had not provided them with proper means of investigation and therefore there was not much they could do. The refusal by the police did not leave much for the family to hope. //// Then a few days later, one of the neighbours handed some documents to Sanao, which they said that they had received through courier. The documents stated that their daughters had embraced Islam and was signed by them too. A neighbour informed the girlsí family that the girls had embraced Islam a year ago, but the father did not believe him. "No sane person would ever fall for that. My daughters were kidnapped on the 18th and the documents state that they accepted Islam on that day itself, if at all." He said that he had been with his daughters for years and was very well aware of their thoughts and actions. //// Sanao added that kidnapping Hindus and making them embrace Islam is not a new practice for their minority. "This has been happening for years, itís just that we belong to a suppressed class and are scared of involving the police and the media which is why such cases werenít highlighted before. This is the first time anybody from my community has taken this step and I am not going to withdraw the case, but I can nothing by myself until I have the police or some government official to help me investigate."//// ............................000000000