6.02.2020
Human Rights Without Frontiers & Yudhvir Rana

Hindu girl abducted from wedding venue, converted, married off in Pakistan

A teenaged Hindu bride from Pakistan’s Sindh province was allegedly kidnapped from the venue of her wedding a few days ago, converted and married off to a Muslim man by the time police responded to her parents’ complaint and traced her to Karachi.

Ravi Dawani, general secretary of the All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat, told TOI on Monday that it was the third instance in less than two weeks of Hindu girls being targeted, including a 15-year-old from Sindh who was kidnapped on January 15 and converted to Islam.

“The bride from Hala in Matiari district of Sindh was converted to Islam at Banoria in Karachi and married off to one Shahrukh Memon,” Dawani said.

He said the Hindu panchayat helped the girl’s family approach the police, who sent a team to Karachi to bring her back to Sindh. She was produced in a Hala court on Monday, but it wasn’t immediately known whether action had been ordered against those accused of kidnapping her.

In the case of the 15-year-old, a resident of Jacobabad district, a court has directed the police to get an ossification test done to confirm her age.

Dawani said a 25-year-old woman from Kot Gulam Mohammad town of Mirpur Khas district had also been whisked away from her home four days ago and converted to Islam. She is now married to a Muslim man identified as Ghulam Mustafa.

“We are still to verify whether the woman got married to Mustafa against her wishes,” Dawani said.

National assembly member Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is from PM Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, didn’t respond to queries from TOI about the spike in allegedly forced conversion and marriage of Hindu girls. Kheal Das Kohistani of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) condemned the incidents, saying forcible conversion and attacks on Hindu shrines had left the minority community scared.

Dawani claimed that unidentified people recently vandalised the Mata Rani temple at Chachro in Tharparkar district of Sindh.

On January 4, a mob had attacked Gurdwara Nankana Sahib in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev. This followed the kidnapping, conversion and forced marriage of a Sikh preacher’s daughter.

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