New Delhi: With reports emerging of two Hindu girls in Pakistan being abducted and forcibly converted to Islam on Holi eve, Zee News reports suggest that this case is one of innumerable forced conversions taking place every month.
Sindh villages in districts of Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar and Umerkot(close to Indian border) report highest forced conversions to Islam. These three districts- Mirpurkhas (33% Hindus), Tharparkar (36% Hindus) and Umerkot (49% Hindus) form a significant Hindu community.
According to some Pakistan social activists, at least 25 conversions of young Hindu girls and women take place every month in Kunri and Samaro talukas of Umerkot.
Reportedly, Sarhandi shrine in Samaro in Umerkot and Barchundi Sharif in Mirpurkhas are active spots for religious conversions of Hindus. Pir Waliullah Sarhandi at the Sarhandi shrine said, “When a young girl is brought before a qazi for conversion to Islam the qazi must comply immediately, else he becomes kafir”.
Hindu girls that are converted mostly belong to scheduled castes, like Bheel, Meghwar, Bhaagri and Kohli.
A 2014 report from the Movement for Solidarity and Peace estimated that nearly 1,000 non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan every year. The report also found that forced marriages usually follow a similar pattern: girls between the ages of 12 and 25 are abducted, made to convert to Islam, and then married to the abductor or an associate.
- In January 2019, Anusha Kumari (16), was abducted and forcefully married to a Muslim man.
- On June 07, 2017, Ravita Meghwar (16), was forcefully converted and married to a Muslim man. Ravita Meghwar’s parents claimed that their daughter was abducted by men from the Syed community in Tharparkar district and converted by Pir Ayub Jan at the Sarhandi shrine in Samaro. She was then married off to one of her kidnappers Nawaz Ali Shah.
- In another case of forced conversion, one Arti Kumari from Sindh was married off to a Muslim man in September 2017.
- One Priya Kaur (17) was kidnapped and married off on April 28- 29, 2017 to Wajid Ali in the Buner district of Khyber Pasthunaua and forced to embrace Islam.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER
Before the conversion, girls are kept in captivity for 15-20 days, wherein they are reportedly raped and abused.
Normally, no cognizance is taken of such complaints. Even if a complaint is registered, in conclusion, abducted girls remain in custody of the abductors. Such cases rarely end in the girls returning to their families.
AS OF NOW
After reports of forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh emerged, social activists along with Hindu organisations urged the Sindh Assembly to pass a bill against the practice in November 2016. But due to opposition from Muslim organisations, the governor returned (January 2017) the Bill to Sindh Assembly, and since the bill is lying with the Assembly.
The main reason in spike in religious conversions could be attributed to the wave of fundamentalism preached by a number of madrassas and various Islamic organisations like- Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal) (JUI-F) madressah complex in New Islamabad, Jamat-du-Dawa’s madressa in Mithi in Tharparkar, Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) in Tharparkar and the Salafi Ahle Hadith Movement.
With inputs from ANI and Manish Shukla from Zee News