ISLAMABAD: Members of Pakistan’s minority Hindu community staged a protest in southern Sindh province after a Hindu woman converted to Islam and married a Muslim man, according to a media report on Saturday.
The protest and a “wave of anger” within the minority community led to the postponement of polls for the Hindu panchayat in Jacobabad on Friday.
Reports from Jhanjhri Street area of Jacobabad said Ganga, the daughter of gold trader Ashok Kumar, married Asif Ali, son of another gold trader Bahadur Ali Surhio, at Amrot Sharif Dargah after converting to Islam, the Dawn reported.
Ganga changed her name to Aasia. The woman’s parents and several relatives rushed to the shrine after learning about the conversion but the marriage had already been registered.
They returned to Jacobabad and lodged an FIR that alleged Ganga was kidnapped by Asif Ali his father, a brother named Abid Ali, and another man identified as Miran Bukhsh. Asif Ali was not at his residence but his father, brother and Miran Bukhsh were arrested.
The Hindu community of Jacobabad took to the streets and organised a protest against the “kidnapping” of the woman. Angry groups of local residents called for a strike and postponement of the Hindu panchayat polls till the matter was settled.
Heated arguments over the polls created an ugly situation and police had to be called in to restore order.
Incumbent panchayat chief Harpal Das Chabria told several hundred voters and their candidates that kidnapping of Hindu girls and their “forced conversion” had increased for some time.
He appealed to authorities to check the trend and provide protection to Hindus in Sindh.
A rally was organised from Janta Hall in Jacobabad against the alleged kidnapping. People marched to the local press club, shouting slogans for Ganga’s reunion with her family.
Hindu leaders warned that if their demand was not met, the community would observe a strike across the city and start an agitation.
Some Hindus alleged Sarafa association president Samiullah Surhio was involved in the alleged kidnapping.
However, Surhio told the media that he had nothing to do with the matter.
The Hindu community in Sindh has been up in arms since last year over the alleged abduction and forced conversion of several women.