When Reena gained her consciousness back, she was completely shattered. The man whom she treated as her brother was standing in front of her with lust in his eyes.
He was her rakhi brother. In the Hindu tradition sister ties a Rakhi (a colorful thread) on the wrist of her brother who in turn promises to protect her from wicked people. But for Reena, the protector had turned predator.
The story of Reena is a story of many minority Hindu girls in Pakistan who are trying to save themselves from forced conversion and marriages.
In February this year, Reena Meghwar and her family was busy with her marriage preparations. Reena belongs to the Meghwar community in Kario Ganhwar village in the Badin district of Sindh. The Meghwar community is one of the major communities in the region.
Qasim Khaskhli who lived in the locality claimed to be a family friend. He was also Reena’s rakhi brother and was very much part of the marriage preparations. The family trusted him and so did Reena. The girl and her family were happy that she was getting married to a boy in a Hindu family.
But then came a bolt from blue Qasim Khaskhli with help of his mother and sister mixed drugs in sweets and gave it to Reena. In few minutes she was unconscious and then Khaskhli abducted her.
When Reena opened her eyes, she was unaware of what was stored for her. She gained consciousness but found it hard to believe that the man whom she considered as a brother had ditched her and brought disrepute to the pure relation of brother-sister.
Qasim Khaskhli was not bothered about anything. He forcefully converted Reena to Islam and married her. Reena could see just darkness around her and was not sure whether she could go back to her parents.
In April this year, a video appeared in the public domain. Reena was seen standing over a wall near the house and asking for help so that she could go back to her parents’ home. A neighbor captured Reena’s plea on camera and shared it on social media. The video went viral and the local government administration asked the police to verify the case.
Interestingly, the police recorded her statement in presence of her abductor. Under immense pressure and threats, she was forced to say that she wanted to live with Khaskhli. She was also made to say that the earlier video was fake. The police were allegedly bribed by Khaskhli with Rs 2 lakh. The police and government officials did not investigate the case further and closed the chapter.
But in July, Reena again appeared in a video clip seeking help to free herself from the clutches of barbaric Khaskhli. She was crying asking for help. The government officials shifted her to a women’s shelter.
The media reached shelter and Reena told local reporters that she was not a Muslim. She revealed that she was threatened that if she gives a statement against Khaskhli, she would face the consequences. Khaskhli threatened that he would kill her family.
With viral video, the case was now the talk of the town. Mr. Shabbir Ahmed Sethar, the SSP Badin, intervened in the matter. The local police had little role to play and so did Khaskhli. The matter was taken to the local court. Reena gave a statement that she wanted to be with her parents. The Court allowed Reena to go back to her parents. Khaskhli and the other three men were arrested
Finally on July 26, Reena met her parents hoping to start a new life. It was proved that she was abducted and forcefully converted to Islam and married to Khaskhli.
Reena’s uncle Hameero spoke to TRN saying that in Hindu culture brother is like a father who protects the girl. “We were betrayed. But this is not just one case. There is a big racket where Hindu girls are kidnapped and converted to Islam and one who fulfills this task is rewarded by fundamental religious groups” he said.
The forceful conversions have put Hindu girls and their families in a dock.
In February, three girls were abducted and converted to Islam from different cities of Sindh. Two girls are still missing while the third girl Kaveeta is in a shelter home despite being a minor.
The Hindu community is unable to find a solution to these terrifying happenings. Their girls are not safe and lives are under constant threat.
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