Hindus have been a part of our nation since partition. Even though a minority, their rights cannot be denied. Shamefully, this minor sector has been facing continuous abuse and oppression. It includes forced conversion of Hindu girls by radical Islamists.
“Forced conversion is when a person changes religion without his/her consent!”
Uptil today, the attempts to legalize conversion and put a ban on it have failed. The last failed attempt to pass a bill was in 2016 in Sindh Assembly. Because of the threat of widespread agitation by religious parties, this bill was delayed. Since then no one has ever heard about it, again!
Majority of the Hindu population lives in the Sindh Province. A demographic breakdown shows more than 50% of the population comprises of Hindus in many districts of Sindh. Furthermore, being more specific, the highest number of Hindus lives in Southern Sindh. Hence, majority of the cases reported are from these areas: Tharparkar and Umerkot.
One of the recent cases of Forceful Conversion of Hindu Girls is of Ravita Meghvar
The Story of Ravita Meghvar
Ravita Meghvar, a 16 year old girl, was abducted, forcefully converted and married to a 36-year old Muslim man, on June 26, 2016. She was given a new name Gulnaz after her conversion. In order to legalize the marriage, the age was wrongly quoted on the marriage certificate.
“I am very satisfied and happy after marrying Nawaz Ali Shah and now I cannot [live] without my husband. I willingly went with Mr. Shah after falling in love with him.”
This was the statement given by the 16 year old girl, when her case was presented in court. Whereas her father, who filed an FIR was very clear about his daughter’s abduction.
Pakistani minorities are mourning today as their daughter Ravita Meghwar a minor has been declared legal wife of kidnapper in Sindh. Shame. pic.twitter.com/IgXg0eDNzP
— Anjum James Paul (@AnjumPaul) June 23, 2017
Another case reported of Forceful Conversion of Hindu Girls- Sonari and Samjoo
The Curious Case of Two Daughters
Sonari and Samjoo, both under the age of 16, were abducted from home in the middle of the night on Jan 15, 2016. Their abductor was a landlord’s son. Shiv Dhan and Mani, the parents, filed a case in court to get their daughters back. Samjoo was returned to the parents after a few days, whereas, Sonari was forcefully married to the landlord’s son. Sonari maintained in court that her conversion and marriage is as per her wishes.
The parents, on return of one daughter changed their statement that they only have one daughter. Since then, no one has ever seen Sonari.
The Case of Rinkle Kumari
Another example of forceful conversion of Hindu girls is Rinkle Kumari. This case received a lot of media attention. This media coverage was not only limited to local media but International media too.
Rinkle Kumari, a 17 year old girl was abducted from her home on Feb 24, 2012. Nand Lal, Rinkle’s father, claimed his daughter was drugged and kidnapped. Furthermore, he claimed that the abductor was an active Minister of National Assembly. He alleged the abductor of forceful conversion of his daughter.
Rinkle’s father, a school teacher filed a case in court. Since this case included the name of an acting minister, it received widespread media coverage.
Rinkle stated, in a press conference that she has married and converted to Islam by choice and has not been forced.
As usual, Sindh High Court allows forcibly converted Scheduled Caste Hindu girl to go with her kidnapper, who is now her husband.
— Shujauddin Qureshi (@shuja98) June 23, 2017
This case got featured in BBC news. You can read all the details here.
Features that are common in all these reported cases:
- Young girls or women of marriageable age (Not mature woman or married woman)
- A Muslim Man involved (Not a Christian or of any other religion)
- Girl willingly runs away to get married (Girls are not of marriageable age)
The similarities in all these reported incidents raise a lot of questions. Furthermore, these are just a few of the reported incidents. Many cases of forceful conversion of Hindu girls go unreported. This injustice needs to stop! No one should be forced to live a life like this!
BBC has done a featured video on this topic as well.