Posted by: Aswathy
Karachi, Nov 6: Yet another incident of abduction, forcible conversion and marriage has triggered protests in Pakistan. In the latest, a Hindu girl, Anjali Meghwar, was abducted , forcibly converted to Islam and then married to one of his kidnappers in Ghotki district on October 30. The 12-year-old girl was, reportedly, abducted from her parents’ home at Mohalla Maswahan in Daharki by some local influential persons, said a Daily Times report. The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN), with allied organisations like Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, District Development Association Tharparkar, Child Rights Movement and Society for the Protection of the rights of the Child (SPARC), and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) condemned the incident on Wednesday. In a joint statement, PDSN coordinators demanded arrest of the religious clerics who conducted the marriage of the minor girl. “This is the worst form of extremism against Hindu Dalits in Sindh. Unfortunately, incidences against minorities are increasing day by day but there is no mechanism to deal with such issues,” the statement said. According to Anjali’s school-leaving and birth certificates, she was born in 2002. The recently passed Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill, 2013 confirms that she is legally a minor. Pakistan laws do not allow marriage of girls under the age of 18. However, the Daharki Civil Court judge ordered the girl to live in Darul Aman in Karachi despite her plea to leave her with her parents. Protesting against this rule, the local Hindu community had observed a strike. This is not the first time an incident like this has happened in Pakistan. On October 24 this year, another young girl, Kajal Bheel, was also abducted from her home at Udero Lal town in Matiari District. In 2012, a 17-year-old, Rinkle Kumari, was abducted and converted forcefully to Islam. Forcible religious conversion is an offence as the constitution, under its Article 36, provides safeguard to the minorities.