By Marvi Sirmed
Rinkle Kumari: A test case for Jinnah's Pakistan
Rinkle Kumari at the Supreme Court
Anger and disillusionment after the Supreme Court's decision on the Rinkle Kumari case is not limited to her family. It seems to be shared by Sindhis in general and Sindhi Hindus in particular. While some familiar with the context of the case are not satisfied, others who follow the mainstream media believe the court has allowed an adult girl to exercise her right to free choice.
Looking at the timeline of this case, it is not very difficult to see how the entire state structure in collusion with landed influential politicians, religious elite and 'independent' media swindled the process of justice. The discrepancies started appearing as soon as the case began with Rinkle's alleged abduction. We might not know at this point whether Rinkle and Naveed Shah had a relationship, but that Rinkle knew Naveed as neighbor is a fact. It is also a fact that she had been complaining about Naveed's excesses towards her for a couple of months before the so-called abduction. The accounts about the day she disappeared, February 24, are many. Even the initial First Information Report (FIR) lodged by her family tells a different story than their statements later. Same is the case with the accounts by Mian Mithoo, the central character of the tragedy. Whenever Mithoo makes a statement about the case, he comes up with a different story about what happened on February 24.
Had he given a different decision, he and thousands of Hindus of Ghotki would have been at risk
For the sake of keeping it simple, let us assume Rinkle and Naveed Shah had a relationship and eloped with mutual consent on February 24. Had that been the case, the girl would not have cried in the civil court Ghotki on February 25 or say that she wanted to go with her parents. The media should probably have asked the civil court why she was sent to Sakkar police station on February 25 after her clear statement. After the court gave up its authority over the process of justice by allowing Mian Mithoo take Rinkle from Ghotki to Sakkar police station while she was given in police custody, the court gave a silent message to all of us as to who was in-charge.
The same was repeated on February 27 in the court of judicial magistrate of Mirpur Mathelo, when he ordered to give Rinkle's custody to Naveed Shah. Not many would blame the poor magistrates considering the conditions in which they are trying to give a semblance of justice. In the absence of any security mechanism ensured for them, it was understandable when he told counsels of Rinkle's family that had he given a decision otherwise, he and thousands of Hindus in Ghotki district would have been killed by religious extremists. The instance has been recorded in the note submitted to honorable Supreme Court by counsel Rasheed A Rizvi.
The farce of 'free will' should have been exposed on March 11 when Rinkle was made to address a press conference while in the custody of police. The way she was surrounded by armed men who dragged them in and out of the venue and how the media portrayed it as her free will statement, was a shameless display of bankruptcy of our collective ethics, morals, intellect and of basic sense of reasoning. The next day, on March 12, when Rinkle was produced in the High Court in Karachi, she was once against dragged in by Mithoo's men with policewomen and men silently watching on the side. Veengas, a journalist from Karachi who has been closely following the case, says Mithoo's men appeared to be in charge of the courtroom. "They were everywhere and were not letting anyone come towards Rinkle" says Veengas. The court had to rise twice in order to make order in the courtroom, as has been recorded in the High Court order of March 12.
On March 26, Rinkle once again pleaded helplessly to the Chief Justice that she wanted to go with her mother. So was announced by the Chief Justice in the court after the in-camera statement from Rinkle and Lata. To quote the Chief Justice, as was reported by various TV channels and newspapers and was never denied by the honourable court, "Rinkle wants to go with her parents while Dr Lata is double minded". Despite this clear statement from Rinkle, she was sent to Panah, the shelter home run by Justice Majida Razvi, former judge of Sindh High Court and chairwoman of NCSW. The order was issued to 'give the girls a pressure free environment in order to record their free-will statement' under section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the SC orders, all the parties to the conflict were barred from meeting her. But to one's utter shock, reports have emerged that she was not spared even in Panah. Although Justice Majida Razvi categorically denies any such event, Rinkle's family insists Panah's lower level staff was intimidated and threatened by Mithoo's men. Justice Razvi, in her written response to this scribe, has offered to produce CCTV camera footage if the accusers tell the date and time of the suspected meeting between Rinkle and Mithoo's son.
After three weeks, Rinkle was produced in the Supreme Court on April 18 where she was not allowed to talk before the order was dictated and she was directed to the Registrar's Office asking her to state her willingness to go with either of the parties. Here comes the problem. It is unknown how the court determined that she is 'sui juris'? Her birth certificate clearly shows her to be less than 18 years of age. How did the court determine that she has embraced Islam without any coercion? There was no cross-questioning allowed by either of the counsels. No counsel was allowed to speak even. According to another unconfirmed report, Mithoo's son and Naveed Shah along with handful of policemen were already in Registrar's Office where Rinkle had to record her statement alone. We, outside the court, were informed by the media present inside, at 4:30 pm that Rinkle had opted for going with her 'husband'.
Yousaf Leghari, former Advocate General of Sindh, is of the opinion that the way the order was written has violated the procedure laid down under section 164. According to CrPC, the statement had to be recorded under oath in the presence of judges. He said nothing was done to determine the free will of the abductee. Mr Amarnath Mottumal, Vice-Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that the court had to make sure if the conversion was forced or not, to which end nothing was done.
The way the petition of the Pakistan Hindu Council was disposed of by the honourable court is also noteworthy. It brings out an important issue of necessary legislation that might be needed to prevent forced conversions. After the Court opined that no legislation was required thereon in the presence of Article 20 of the Constitution, the issue has become more complex. Asad Jamal, advocate of Lahore High Court and noted human rights activist, says that the Court order does not and cannot bar the parliament from legislating on an issue it deems necessary to legislate upon. However, legislation on this issue must be done with care and due diligence, so it might not be used against minorities.
There have been unconfirmed reports that Mian Mithoo has Rinkle's passport and has bought a ticket for her to leave the country on May 28. Meanwhile, everyone has forgotten about the presidential order of an inquiry into the issue. There must be a probe into the role of Ghotki police, and of Mian Mithoo, while taking into account his criminal record.
The Story of RinkleKumari:
- RinkleKumari was abducted/disappeared early in the morning
- Nand Lal, Rinkle’s father received a call from Mian Aslam son of Mian Abdul Haq (aka MianMithoo) who informed them that Rinkle was with him.
- MianMithoo, a local influential, a disciple of Pir Sahib of Bherchundi Sharif and MNA from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, informed the family, at 11:00am, that their daughter had embraced Islam.
- The family was later informed that Rinkle’sNikah had been administered with a Muslim boy Naveed Shah.
- The Hindu community’s Mukhi (leader) from Deherki, MrNamo Mal,contactedMithoo and requested him to bring the girl and settle the dispute. Mithoo didn’t.
- Nand Lal, his wife, and the rest of his family tried to contact the District Police Officer (DPO), who never attended their calls.
- Muslims and Hindus of the area protestedand blocked the National Highway. They went on strike after police shelling on the protesters.
- They lodged an FIR for the kidnapping.
- The DPO could not recover Rinkle from Mithoo’s custody.
- Rinkle was produced in the court of Hasan Ali Kalwar, Judge of Civil Court Ghotki.
- As soon as Rinkle saw her family in the court, she screamed before the judge and pleaded to let her go with her mother.
- The judge, however, had to inform her parents if they insist on taking Rinkle along, they would be responsible for the destruction that might follow – killing of 2,000 Hindus of district Ghotki.
- Rinkle’s custody, thus, was given to the police with an order to send her to Sukkur Women’s Police Station.
- Rinkle was taken to Sakkar in the car of Mithoo’s son, as reported in Sindhi newspapers. Point to be noted:a private car belonging to the accused party was used to transport the victim, who was in police custody.
- The judge gave a new date for hearing (February 27).
- Rinkle’s family met her in Women’s Police Station Sukkur, where she was kept on the court’s orders.
- Rinkle informed her family that MianMithoo spoke to her earlier that night on the cell phone of a police constable. When she refused to talk to him, she was manhandled and made to speak.
- MianMithoo, according to Rinkle, threatened her to change her statement if she wanted to see her family alive.
- Police took Rinkle from Sukkur to MirpurMathelo, at 2:00am according to the sources in Sukkur Police Station. The official version, though, is that they took her at 3:30am to the Sukkur Headquarters.
- The point to be noted here is, according to the official records, DIG Sukkur Police was in Karachi on February 27, the DPO was in KhairpurMirs and the DSP MirpurMathelo was also in Karachi. Who was in charge of the Headquarter that day? Why did the police deem it necessary to take the girl to the Headquarter at that point in the night?
- At 3:30am, SHO ZulfiqarMeher called Rinkle’s family and informed them that the hearing would be in Ghotki instead of Mirpur Mathelo.
- Half of the family decided to go to Ghotki, and the other half toMirpurMathelo.
- About a kilometer of area around the court in Mirpur Mathelo was sealed. For Hindus, that is. Nobody from the Hindu community was allowed near the court.
- The court was surrounded by hundreds of the men of MianMithoo.
- When the family tried to call the DPO, he never picked up.
- The family somehow got the permission from the District Headquarters to attend the hearing. Only four people from Rinkle’s family were allowed in the court:Sulchini, Rinkle’s mother, Daya Ram, Rinkle’s paternal uncle, Rajkumar, Rinkle’s maternal uncle, and her father.
- MianMithoo said in front of many people outside the court that if the decision was against him, he would ‘be obliged to shoot bullets’.
- At 8:30am, only two of the four family members got permission to enter the courtroom, ie, Sulchini Devi and Daya Ram.
- According to Sulchini Devi, the court room was full of MianMithoo’s men
- At 8:45am, people outside the court heard loud noises of ‘Mubarak’ (congratulations) from inside the courtroom for her ‘embracing Islam’.
- The court gave the judgment that RinkleKumari was a Muslim and had married Naveed Shah.
- Rinkle’s uncles addressed a press conference against this injustice and unfair treatment at the part of the state institutions and the high-handedness of local the local vadera (feudal) having full governmental support.
- Mithoo’s men, led by one HisamKalhoro, stormed into Rinkle’s grandfather’s office and fired at him. The old man survived, but the family was scared and shifted to Karachi.MianMithoo denied this but there are eyewitnesses of the incident.
- MrGhulam Shah from Sindh United Party and MrRiazChandio from Jiye Sindh QaumiMahaz were contacted by MianMithoo, who expressed his willingness for a deal. He offered to let Rinkle meet her family if the family compromises and accepts her new religious and marital status. The family responded positively and gave their commitment to honour Rinkle’s decision to convert and to marry, if and only if she was doing it of her free will, not under someone’s coercion. To ensure that, MrGhulam Shah, a respected Sindhi nationalist (Muslim by religion), offered to keep Rinkle as his daughter in his home for 12 hours and give her a free environment to make her choice. Mithoo did not agree to the proposition and the thin hope of resolving the issue died down.
- Mr Khalid Soomro of JUI-F was contacted by the family and by Sindhi nationalists to mediate between the Hindu community and MianMithoo. Soomro tried, but failed due to Mithoo’s stubbornness.
- The family filed a petition in the Sindh High Court challenging the February 27 judgment of Sessions Court MirpurMathelo.
- The appeal was accepted by the Sindh High Court. It announced a hearing on March 12 and Rinklewas taken in police custody.
- The SHO of Frere Town police station in Karachi allegedly helpedMianMithoospeak to Rinkle. He ordered HajraUsman, Inspector South, to make Rinkle talk to Mithoo. Inspector Hajra allegedly manhandled Rinkle and coerced her to take Mithoo’s phone call. Mithoo once again threatened Rinkle withdire consequences if she changed her statement and denied being a Muslim. According to some Sindhi language newspapers, the police officers denied these allegations.
- The Supreme Court of Pakistan takes note of the incident and re-opens an old pending petition against forced conversions of Hindu girls by local extremist elements, filed by the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) in 2007.
- The Supreme Court included Rinkle’s case in the PHC petition, along with two other recent cases of alleged forced conversion, DrLataKumari and AashaKumari.
- The hearing was fixed on March 26.
- Rinklespoke to a press conference while she was still in police custody. Who bore the expenses for the press conference is unknown. Although some Karachi based reporters confirmed that MianMithoo’s men informed them about and invited them to the press conference.
- In the press conference, Rinkle was being told what to say through a Bluetooth mobile device. Her complete ignorance of basic Islamic tenants was visible to many reporters, while she insisted that she was ‘influenced by Islamic tenants’. Little cross-questioning was allowed by Mithoo’s men, who took away Rinkle when the reporters tried to ask questions.
- Reports of the press conference were highlighted in the mainstream media to influence the court’s proceedings and public opinion. People now believed that Rinkle had embraced Islam of her own free will.
- Around two hundred gun totting men of MianMithoomade their appearance outside the High Court.
- The court closed the proceedings in view of the Supreme Court’s opening of the petition and including Rinkle’s case therein. She was kept in police custody.
- American Congressman Brad Sherman wrote a letter to the President of Pakistan urging him to look into the matter.
- RinkleKumari and DrLataKumari were produced in the Court while Aasha was still missing. No one had any information about her including her family, the police and MianMithoo.
- During the court proceedings, Rinkle cried and screamed that she wanted to go with her mother. Seeing similar reaction from DrLata, the Chief Justice ordered the court to proceed in camera.
- After taking detailed statements from both the girls in camera, the Chief Justice announced in front of national and international media that Rinkle Kumari had pleaded to go with her mother while DrLata was double minded.
- To the surprise of many, the Chief Justice ordered to keep the girls away from their families for the next three weeks.He said they should not be allowed to meet anyone before they can make a decision about their lives without being influenced. Rinkle, despite clearly saying that she wanted to go with her mother, was sent to a shelter home.
- The girls were sent to Panah, a shelter home in Karachi managed by revered Justice MajidaRazvi, former chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women.
- The court adjourned the hearing till April 18.
- MaulanaShirani, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, said Rinkle should be sent home if she has been forcibly converted and that forced conversions were not allowed in Islam.
- Naveed Shah, the so called husband of Rinkle, requested the Supreme Court for permission to meet Rinkle. The Chief Justice rejected the application saying she wanted to go with her mother.
- Speaking at a seminar organized by Anjuman-e-Talaba-e-Islam in Islamabad, MianMithoo while answering a question said he will not accept the decision of Supreme Court if it decided against him. He also said at the event that all the ‘gaddinasheens’ (caretakers) of Dargahs in Sindh take money and let such girls go, including the gaddinasheen of Bharchundi Sharif. The gaddinasheen of Bharchundi Sharif dargah is Mian Abdul Khaliq, nephew of MianMithoo.
April 12 – 14:
- Naveed Shah and Mian Aslam allegedly met Rinkle several times in Panah, a charge Justice MajidaRazvi strongly denies and offers to produce CCTV footage if needed by the court. The family, however, insists that they have credible information that two lower level staff members were threatened by MianMithoointo facilitating those meetings. They said they would produce the witness in the court.
- Human rights activists and the family of Rinkle held a press conference in Islamabad in which her family categorically declared they had no objection if their daughter had embraced Islam of her own free will and for the love of Islam. They also declared they would accept her decision of marrying Naveed Shah and would rather celebrate the wedding with all the traditional customs including gifting her dowry. But their only request from the court was to look deeply into whether the conversion and marriage were not forced.
- Rinkle, along with DrLata and Aasha,was presented in the Supreme Court. As soon as they appeared, the Chief Justice said they should record their statements in the Registrar’s Office and should ‘freely’ tell where they wanted to go.
- The court wrote the order before taking the statement from any of the girls.
- Upon entering the court Rinkle handed over a piece of white paper to the Chief Justice. It never came out what was written on the paper and what Rinkle wanted to say, which was not heard. Court gave the girls half an hour after which they had to record their statements.
- The girls were called in the Registrar’s Office after one and a half hour during which MianMithoo and his sons are reported to have met with the Registrar. When asked via email, the Registrar’s Office did not respond to the query.
- According to some reports, Naveed Shah, some policemen and MianMithoo’s son were present when Rinkle’s ‘freewill’ statement was being recorded in the Registrar’s Office.
- Rinkle opted to go with her ‘husband’.
- The mainstream media glorified her exercise of ‘free will’ and demagogues on TV talk shows (including liberals) kept advising people to respect Rinkle’s ‘right to choose’.
- While disposing of the petition by the Pakistan Hindu Council regarding forced conversions of Hindus, the Chief Justice of Pakistan declared that in the existence of Article 20 of the Constitution, there was no need for special legislation regarding the protection of the rights of minorities.
- The issue was buried in mainstream media butcontinued to be mentioned every day in Sindhi media.
- Rinkle’s family filed a review petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and asked foran inquiry into the role of Ghotki police and MianMithoo in the case.
Comments (9 comments)
Mian Mitho ia a criminal PPP MNA ,he has been doing this type of work since long time,but the parents of victims always scared to go against to this muslim extremist .Mian Mitho's sons first use the hindu girls and after some time they sell the girl to different hands. Government should stop this type of crime and should take action against these black sheeps.Rinkle kumari and Asha kumari both are real case of kidnapping, both girls are under age Rinkle is just 17 and half year old and Asha is just 15 and half year old(according to their birth certificate) but kidnappers forced to girls to tell 19 and 22 year age in supreme court.Now there is no hope of justice for these girls in pakistan, But if Human Rights Orgonization come forward ,justice can be possible.
Posted: Monday, May 28, 2012 by Roshni
@zulfi.. come on zulfi..in her article she clearly mentioned what happened..and this is currently the situation of minority in pakistan. On 26 march she wanted to go with her parents..after this decision hindus are threatened more in interior sindh..and what about if some one convert from islam to any other religion??..
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012 by naray
A nation that has a conscience cannot go wrong. It is nice that there are still some hearts that prick a little in the name of 'Insaniyat'.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012 by Moko
Raj Kumar is Rinkle's uncle I don't see why you have objection that he started this agitation for political reason than to save one innocent girl who was being sacrificed in the name of religion may be you did not hear her cries not once but twice to the Lower court Judge and Supreme court Judge she said she wants to go back to her parents no body listened to her. Well Raj Kumar is only Hindu in history of Pakistan who raised his voice against injustice.
I don't know what is the relationship between Naveed SHah and Mian Mitho.
Any way Rinkle is Faryal now and she is married to Naveed Shah, why is she not being allowed to be with her husband, Why she is being kept as hostage by Mian Mitho and his sons. Why Naveed Shah is not protesting about it. Isn't Faryal is his honor isn't it the duty of husband to take care of dignity and honor of his wife. Why media is keeping quiet about this. Their conscious is dead. She is one of you, can you speak up for her. You live in USA if say Christian girl marries a Muslim man and marriage breaks down, then girl can go back to her parents home even if she is converted to Islam isn't it. Here Rinkle / Feryal has no such option. Why she is not human being.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012 by Vglund
Zulfi I would give the answers of all of your questions and then I would ask you some questions that you will have to answer. You first question is why rinkle only was target. For your kind information rinkle was targeted by naveed who was living near to her home. Mian Mitho and its people have been supporting in abducting/kidnapping Hindu Girls. Naveed used to go to bharchoondi and he got the support of Bharchoondi to kindnap rinkle.
You second question is why mian mitho marry rinkle with his own son? Mian Mitho keeps the hindu girl in his own custody. Naveed is just a source to reach to Hindu girls and after some time you would see Mian Aslam with Rinkle. If you have good eyes to see. You must watch the videos uploaded on youtube where Aslam is holding hand of rinkle surround by men and Naveed is following them. What was that? You third question is Why is rinkle's uncle active why not her father? Who said it to you that her father is not active. Her father is not coming to media that does not mean he is not active. Now let me ask you questions that you should answer otherwise you must keep your mouth shut if you are unaware of thing happening in interior with us.
Why Mian Mitho has kept rinkle in his custody from the day one and kept isolated and separated from her parents?
Even we requested Mian Mitho to take girls to Hindu Pachayati Hall, why did he not bring her?
Why he was threatening the Hindu community during the petition and case was filed against him? These and a lot of other questions you have to answer if you are in favor of Mian Mitho's people.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012 by Shankar Das
Hats off to Marvi Sirmed, she has always shown courage in holding the bull by its horns. Perhaps Zulfi is not aware of the ground realities of his beloved Pakistan which is currently termed as the most dangerous place to live in. Hindus have always been tortured in Pakistan. We Hindu Sindhis are the living evidence. Pakistan does not leave even its own muslims by calling them names and then punishing them.
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 by Shivkumar
zulfi.. sahab u don't know.. the character of mian mitho.. naveed shah is just using... n now naveed shah has no concern with rinkle.. u said Why would Mian Mitho not make her marry his own son?? so i let u know rinkle is in barchoondi sharif.. not with naveed shah.. u pplzz always barking about our hindus.. u dont know what r the realities.. there are many examples not only rinkle... so b mature n broad ur thinking.. not for limited to islam.. humanity is the big n great religion...
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 by vijesh kumar doultani
from karachi pakistan.
Mr zulfi i know that rinkal's house is 20 mile away from mitho's house your question is why rinkal why not any other girl. if any other girl were abducted again your question will remain same that why this girl other than any one. there is distance of 261 km b/w morro and daharki a hindu girl once again abducted named aneeta kumari she was also abducted by mitho after that she sailed out at price of 4 to 5 lac to shar brothery . also asha kumari from jacobabad distance between daharki and jcbbd is asha kumari again kept in under mian mitho's home she convince that she lived in bharchundi while the fir of asha kumari had been submited all this knowing of kidnaping fir of asha why mitho kept asha kumari at his place.before recent 4 years there are 2000 girls had been abducted and all of these 2000s girls case which filed was sam that love marage why not boys boecome muslim other than girl why do you have answer of this why????
why have thousands of question to ask you but first go to study this case and come here and tell what actully is???
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 by yogesh kumar
when a muslim girl marry on her own will theses so called human rights activists stand up for this.. now a hindu girl embraced islam she accepted it before the court there was no pressure on her it was her wish she said it again and again in tv shows then marvi has pain??
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 by mureed abbas
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