Pakistani Hindu minor girls approach court seeking protection

World

25 Mar 2019

Two Pakistani Hindu minor girls abducted, forcefully converted for nikah

A man suspected to have assisted in solemnizing the wedding of two Pakistani Hindu minor girls, who were reportedly abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, was arrested yesterday, as the teenagers approached a court in Pakistan's Punjab province seeking protection, stated a media report.

The two girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), were allegedly kidnapped from their home on the eve of Holi.

Background

Video showing nikah of the two girls triggers nationwide outrage

Video showing nikah of the two girls triggers nationwide outrage

The two girls were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi.

Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown solemnizing the nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering nationwide outrage.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had also ordered a probe into the issue.

Media reports

Teenagers approach court in Bahawalpur in Punjab province

According to Geo TV, the teenagers approached a court in Bahawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province seeking protection.

"Police have meanwhile arrested a man from Khanpur who is suspected to have assisted in the nikah (marital contract) of the girls," it said.

However, it is not confirmed whether the arrested man is the same cleric who performed their marriage, it further stated.

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Ind vs Pak

War of words breaks out between Swaraj, Chaudhry over incident

War of words breaks out between Swaraj, Chaudhry over incident

Earlier there were reports that the cleric who performed the minor girls' marriage was arrested from Khanpur in Sindh province.

A war of words also broke out between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry earlier in the day over the reported abduction, forced conversion and underage marriages of the two Hindu teenagers.

Argument

It is country's 'internal issue', says Pakistan's information minister

The spat started soon after Swaraj sought details from the Indian envoy in Pakistan into the reported abduction of two Hindu teenaged girls.

Swaraj, while tagging a media report about the incident, tweeted that she has asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on the matter.

Pakistan's Information Minister responded to her tweet, saying it was his country's "internal issue".

Clarification

PM has asked Sindh, Punjab governments to take steps: Chaudhry

PM has asked Sindh, Punjab governments to take steps: Chaudhry

Chaudhry said the PM has asked the Sindh chief minister to look into reports that the girls in question have been taken to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab.

He said the prime minister has also ordered the Sindh and Punjab governments to devise a joint action plan in light of the incident and to take concrete steps to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Protest

Consequence: Hindu community in Pakistan carry out massive demonstrations

The Hindu community in Pakistan has carried out massive demonstrations calling for strict action to be taken against those responsible while reminding PM Khan of his promises to the minorities of the country.

Last year, Khan during his election campaign had said that his party would take effective measures to prevent forced marriages of Hindu girls and will uplift various religious groups across Pakistan.

Demands

Bill against forced conversion must be passed in Assembly: Vankwani

Bill against forced conversion must be passed in Assembly: Vankwani

Pakistan Hindu Council chief and Member of National Assembly from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Ramesh Kumar Vankwani condemned the incident.

He demanded that the bill against forced conversion, which was unanimously passed by Sindh Assembly in 2016 and then reverted due to the pressure of extremist elements, must be resurrected and passed in the Assembly on a priority basis.

Info

Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan

Rights-activist Jibran Nasir tweeted that the sisters were converted at the Dargah Barchundi Sharif and were taken to Rahim Yar Khan following their marriages.

Hindus form the biggest minority-community in Pakistan.

According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan with a majority of them settled in Sindh.

Approximately 25 forced marriages take place every month in Sindh's Umerkot district, said media reports.

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