Monday, June 19, 2017

Pakistan: Hindus appeal SC to take suo moto against kidnappings, forced conversions and marriages


Around 5,000 Pakistani Hindus were being forced to migrate every year while those left behind were too poor and powerless to raise their voice against this gross injustice.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: The Nation
By The Nation | June 19, 2017

KARACHI - Pakistani Hindus have appealed to the Supreme Court for taking suo moto against the ‘horrific rise’ in cases of kidnappings, forced conversions and forcible marriages of Hindu girls in Sindh.

The Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), a representative body of the religious minority, held an emergency meeting on Sunday and made this demand.

According to a press statement, the meeting was attended by PHC patron-in-chief and National Assembly member Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani along with Hotchand Kirmani, Paman Lal Rathi, Dr Deepak Kumar, Raja Asar Mal and others.

The meeting reviewed the situation in the context of recent abduction of a Hindu minor girl, Ravita Meghwar, from Tharparkar district. The participants noted that the situation in the area from where Ravita was kidnapped is still very tense and the victim family is reportedly forced to leave the home.

Dr Ramesh demanded early recovery of abducted Hindu girl and said that such incidents are considered social crimes in any civilised society but in Sindh hate-mongering elements are presenting it as something good under the garb of religion.

He said that Islam is a religion of peace and Pakistan Hindu Council has never opposed embracing of Islam by anyone as a result of preach or self-consent.

"Situation in Sindh is entirely different where the focus is only to convert Hindu kidnapped girls with the sole purpose of marrying without their consent," he said.

Dr Ramesh, who is a prominent parliamentarian, said that majority of Pakistani people were peace-loving and believe in respect of others but few elements were damaging the repute of the country and nation on international level.

Criticising the Sindh government, he said that returning of unanimously passed bill in the Sindh Assembly for the protection of minorities was a proof that the provincial government had become a hostage to religious [Muslim] pressure groups.

He told that in another incident, 15 years old Hindu girl Ganga, daughter of Jodho Harijan, was also kidnapped by Qasim Hajam and forcibly converted to marry at gunpoint.

He was of the view that the motive behind 99 percent of such incidents is forced marriages with the Hindu girls.

The Hindu leader said that the rise of such horrific incidents not only shows the failure of provincial government for providing security to the non-Muslim communities but also impacting very badly on the socio-psychological condition.

He said that around 5,000 Pakistani Hindus were being forced to migrate every year while those left behind were too poor and powerless to raise their voice against this gross injustice.

PHC leader regretted that population of non-Muslims, which was 23 percent at the time of independence, had now reduced to just 6 percent and still some extremist elements were trying their hard to eliminate the non-Muslims completely.

Dr Ramesh, while quoting August 11 speech of Quaid-e-Azam, said that the constitution of Pakistan grants protection to all religious minorities. He also highlighted that Charter of Madina is a golden example of harmonious relations between a Muslim state and its non-Muslim citizens.

The meeting participants expressed sorrow that due to the influence of powerful kidnappers, local police is not allowed to do anything for recovery of kidnapped girls and after 15 days, the abductors presented the innocent girl in the court with a certificate of conversion issued by some Madrasa to justify their crime.

"This provides legal cover to police to further do nothing," the participants regretted, while adding that at the time of appearing in the court, majority of the kidnapped non-adult Hindu girls lack basic understanding of newly-adopted religion and are even not eligible to acquire the national identity cards.

According to the national law, marriage under 18 years is prohibited for all citizens.

Pakistan Hindu Council also demanded taking action under the blasphemy laws for using hateful terms like kafirs (non-believers) for the family of kidnapped girls in the certificates of conversion.

During the meeting, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani was also asked for playing his due role at all platforms including the Parliament and seeking cooperation from other peace-loving segments of society to launch nationwide protests.

"This critical situation demands all Pakistani Hindus to maintain unity among their ranks," Dr Ramesh said in his concluding remarks, while appealing to the Supreme Court for taking suo motto on the sensitive issue.


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