Kidnappings, forced marriages of Hindu girls draw protests in Pakistan

Kidnappings, forced marriages of Hindu girls draw protests in Pakistan

Hindu girls are being kidnapped and forced to marry Muslim men in Pakistan, according to a number of largely Pakistani and Indian news sources. Between 15 and 20 Hindu girls are abducted each month and wedded to Muslim men in the province of Karachi. In the province of Sindh the number is even higher, with between 20 and 25 Hindu girls being kidnapped. Most are reportedly no more than 13 or 14 years old.

Radha “was abducted from Karachi about 13 months ago by a group of young men who offered her ice-cream and a ride in their car,” reports Pakistan Today. “Before she knew what was happening, she was dragged into a larger van, and driven to an area she did not know.” She was then forced to sign a number of legal forms and to convert to Islam in front of a Muslim cleric. After that she was married off to a 25 year-old Muslim man, and sent to live with him and his family, who gave her a new name.

“The abduction and kidnapping of Hindu girls is becoming more and more common,” Amarnath Motumal, a lawyer and leader of Karachi’s Hindu community, has said. “This trend has been growing over the past four or five years, and it is getting worse day by day.”

But Hindus and other minorities in Muslim-majority Pakistan are beginning to be heard. Last week Hindus and those of other minority faiths joined together outside the Lahore Press Club to protest the kidnapping of one 16 year-old Hindu girl. According to Daily News & Analysis relatives of the victim joined the protest. They have also complained that they had received “threats from the kidnappers and influential Muslims of the area.”

The victim, Rinki Kumari, is believed to have been kidnapped by the son of a Parliamentarian from Ghotki district of Sindh.

The relatives allege that Abdul Haq (alias Mian Mitthu), a member of the lower house of Parliament, has been “backing the kidnappers” and that he had pressured “the local magistrate to give a ruling in favour of the abductors and ignore the written testimony” of Kumari.

However, on Wednesday the Sindh Assembly referred a resolution to the provincial law department ‘to stop forced conversion’ of minorities, especially the Hindu girls in the country. The resolution was jointly moved by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and minority MPAs Pitambar Sewani and Saleem Khurshed Khokhar, reports Pakistan’s Daily Times. Although none of the lawmakers opposed the resolution some expressed unhappiness with it. Shama Arif Mithani, was only one female lawmaker to complain. She asserted that non-Muslims should not oppose the marriage of non-Muslim girls to Muslims, which, she claimed, were consensual.

MPA Pitanber Sewani reminded the Assembly of the kidnapping of Kunari. Speaking about the attackers, he said, “These people kidnapped her at gunpoint a few days ago and presented her in a lower court after her marriage with Naveed Shah. We have no objection if a Hindu girl marries a Muslim boy of her free will. But Hindus will not tolerate forced marriages.”


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