70 years back, when Jhaman Das had turned his back on advisories of all his relatives to cross the Pakistan border, little did he know that this decision will cost him lives of his young grandsons, 7 decades later, a couple of days back. His grandsons Dilip Kumar and Chandra Kumar were shot dead in broad day light triggering panic in dwindling population of Pakistani Hindu in this rare town of Mithi which still has a distinction of being Hindu dominated.
But such incidents, which have rather become more frequent oflate are forcing Hindus to flee away leaving their valuables in the weekly Thar Express connecting Karachi in Pakistan to Khokhrapar in Barmer district. Now Das badly rues his decision the way his other community member do.
Hindus in this propserous town of Tharparkar district, just 100 kms from Barmer, are intimidated and are forced into conversions. The mastermind of Mumbai terror attack and chief of terror outfit Jamat’at-ud-Dawah Hafiz Saeed is said to be behind the widescale conversions of Hindus in this town where Muslims are in minority.
“Families of weaker communities specially Meghwals which comprise 40% of the town’s population are the most vulnerable ones. Young girls are kidnapped and forced to marry Muslims in this village and Saeed’s outfit provide financial help to the perpetrators,” said Rajesh Maheshwari (name changed), who had fled from Mithi leaving behind all his fortune.
Few years back, Hindus would comprise over 80% of population in this town. Now the Hindus are squeezed to 60%. Majority have decided to try their luck on the other side of the border while some have resigned to their fate accepting conversion to Islam.
“Business is still in the control of Hindus here. Now Islamic leaders like Hafiz Saeed are targeting trading community so that money changes hands out of fear. Such attacks are just an indication of what is in store for Hindus, who have been living in fear for quite some time,” said Kamta Das Sindhi (name changed), who has been running pillar to post in Jodhpur Collectorate for Indian citizenship for last 10 years.
The pitiable condition of Pakistani Hindus in Mithi is an alarming bell for External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who has given assurances sevral times to take up cases of atrocities against Hindus in Pakistan.
“If Swaraj doesn’t intervene strongly, the Hindu dominated Mithi town will also turn into a Muslim town. The temple bell will no longer resonate with azan in the mosque which had long been a mark of this town,” said Sindhi.