Tuesday, January 18, 2011
This was revealed in a detailed research study conducted by Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) National Manager Salam Dharejo.
He informed that the majority of children kidnapped in the area were Hindus – the biggest religious minority of Pakistan. The three-year (2008-2010) study states that between January 2008 to December 2010, at least 23 minor children – some even aged three – were kidnapped for ransom and out of them 9 were Hindus including four girls. The majority of children kidnapped were aged between three to 12 years. These cases could be much more than actually reported, as the kidnappers threaten the parents of killing the child, if they approach the police.
During the last year, around 12 cases of child kidnapping were registered with six of them belonging to Hindu families.
“Due to consistent kidnapping incidents, the families are under perpetual fear and insecurity while many Hindu families have migrated to India. The parents are compelled to stop sending minors to school and even do not allow them to go out of the home in Kashmore and Kandhkot towns,” Dharejo said.
When asked why he selected the particular areas for his research, he said that keeping in view the particular focus on kidnapping of Hindu children, the analysis was carried out in the district to understand the nature and prevalence of kidnappings, and to analyse the role of police with reference to child protection.
Most of the kidnapped children were recovered within a week to two months. In most cases the parents had to pay huge sums of money as ransom with the police playing the role of middle-men in negotiations with criminals.
The district police record shows that in every case, the police arrested one to 10 persons. All kidnappings cases were proceeded at anti-terrorism courts but not a single offender has been convicted since 2008 due to lack of evidence.
For the last many years, child kidnapping for ransom cases in Kandhkot at Kashmore district have created an environment of insecurity. Around 90 percent of the total Hindus population of 2.7 million lives in Sindh. The northern parts of Sindh comprise large Hindu population involved in business, which appeals to the criminals for targeting them. Although kidnapping adult Hindu females for forced conversation is not new, kidnapping of minor children has become an emerging industry in the province.
“The Hindu community is particularly targeted because of their vulnerable socio-political status. Having no political patronage and relationship with the criminal mafia and business backgrounds, they are comparatively easy to exploit. Even after the recovery of abducted children, they do not go for litigation in fear of hostility and in almost all cases, the culprits were set free due to absence of witnesses,” explained Dharejo.