Sindh, July 24, 2016: Veeru Kolhi who became the first Hindu woman to ever contest an election in Pakistan in the year 2013 has been arrested on the charge of keeping whisky!
48-year old Veeru Kolhi belonged to landless Hari caste and came from the impoverished Hindu Dalit scheduled caste and worked as a bonded labour for a powerful Muslim landlord. Her escape and her subsequently jumping into election fray in 2013 against the party of powerful landlords Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) run under the Bhutto-Zardari zamindar clan was iconic.
Veeru’s fight against the powerful PPP leader Sharjeel Memon was seen with much appreciation but then with this arrest it seems that Veeru Kolhi again has a huge fight ahead.
She had become a voice for the bonded labourers, an unfortunate human rights violation practice, still alive in Pakistan and this seemed to have earned her many political enemies from the ruling party.
Her supporters believe that this charge of keeping whisky was deliberately levied against the Hindu Dalit activist to malign her image as this is one charge that can ruin her reputation permanently. PPP is being accused of running a vendetta against the Hindu Dalit woman activist ever since.
Veeru’s entire family has been in and out of jail ever since her daring step of contesting against the ruling PPP.
The Hindu Dalit community in Pakistan is one of the poorest sections and a wide range of forced conversion and rape cases have been reported from Sindh where this community resides in most numbers.
In 2013, Muslim landlord Lalu Ilyas Shar’s son murdered a Hindu Dalit after raping her and her sister in front of their families whom they held on gunpoint and forced them to watch the rape. The incident was reported from Goth Lalu Shar, Umarkot district, Sindh.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) identified the murdered victim as Kakoo Kolhi who was raped along with her sister Nallan by landlord Mohammad Khadim Shar and his brother Sirajudding Shar.
Kakoo was the one who was later murdered by Mohammad Khadim Shar and Sirajudding Shar as they were angry at the way the low caste Hindu woman had rejected his desires and dared to file a case of rape against the Muslim men of the landlord class. In short, Kakoo, a Hindu Dalit woman was killed to preserve the honor of the landlords.