J&K: SAD leader involves Centre in Sikh women's 'forced conversion'
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa on Monday spoke to Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the alleged forced religious conversion and marriage of Sikh women in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. On Sunday, Sirsa—the President of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee—protested against the incident along with other members of the group in Srinagar, demanding an anti-conversion law.
Home Minister assured us support: Sirsa
Sirsa tweeted that he spoke to Shah regarding the incident and was assured support. Shah assured he is monitoring the situation closely, Sirsa wrote, adding that the Home Minister has taken details of the cases from J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and three news portals. Shah will also meet a Sikh delegation to discuss the Sikh community's concerns in J&K, Sirsa wrote.
J&K DGP promised stern action: Sirsa
In another tweet, Sirsa said that he also spoke to J&K Director General of Police Dilbag Singh regarding the matter. The DGP assured him that the Sikh women will remain safe and the culprits would face stern action, he said. In a video statement, Sirsa said one of the kidnapped women has returned home, while another remains missing.
18-year-old with disabilities kidnapped at gunpoint, forcibly converted: Protesters
On Sunday, Sirsa and the other protesters alleged that an 18-year-old Sikh woman with disabilities was kidnapped at gunpoint in Srinagar, forcibly converted, and married off to an elderly man in a nikah ceremony. A nikah is a religious ceremony for a Muslim couple to be wed. Sirsa said there have been four such cases, including two from Jammu.
Protesters demand anti-conversion law in J&K
Sirsa also demanded a law in J&K against forced religious conversion which would mandate parents' permission for an interfaith marriage. The Officiating Jathedar of the Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Giani Harpreet Singh, wrote to L-G Sinha demanding an anti-conversion law.
Only 1 forced conversion case: Police
However, the police said they are only aware of one case so far, NDTV reported. Police sources told the publication that they tried to investigate a second such case based on Sirsa's allegations, but found that no other incident took place in J&K recently. Meanwhile, they also said that the man arrested for the 18-year-old's kidnapping is 29, not nearly 60 as claimed.
'Married of own will,' says woman; 'testimony influenced,' says family
Reportedly, the woman also told a court that she married the man of her own free will. The protesters said that the police did not allow the woman's parents to enter the court (the police complied with the law), claiming that her testimony was influenced.