Seven arrested for abduction, forced conversion of 2 Hindu girls

Islamabad: Police have detained at least seven people, including a Nikah Khwan (marriage officiator), allegedly involved in the abduction, forced conversion from Hinduism to Islam, and underage marriage of two minor Hindu girls.

Members of civil society also gathered outside the Karachi Press Club on Sunday to protest against the alleged abduction and forced conversion of two Hindu girls to Islam.

Dawn reported that the two minor Hindu sisters, namely Reena and Raveena, belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, were abducted from their home in Daharki taluka of Ghotki district in Sindh on the occasion of Holi last week (March 21).

During the demonstration, the protestors reminded the Sindh government of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, passed in 2014, which states that the minimum age of marriage is 18 years and making a person younger than that age marry is a punishable offence.

The protestors criticised the Sindh police for not taking appropriate action into the matter and demanded that the girls should be returned safely to their homes. On Sunday, the two girls approached a court in Bahawalpur seeking protection.

The incident came to light after the girls’ father and brother revealed the details in videos that went viral on social media. In a separate video, however, the girls can be seen saying that they accepted Islam out of their own free will.

“Reena and Raveena whose videos on social media show them embracing Islam are only 16 and 14 years of age and thus too young to be married,” the protestors said. “There is also another video of their poor father helplessly beating himself outside a police station, begging the police to do something. The girls had recently lost their mother and their father is also not doing well,” they added.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday asked for an “immediate” probe in the case of abduction and forced conversion of two Hindu girls.

On the same day, India shared its concerns through an official note to Pakistan Foreign office over the incident, said sources.

India has asked that suitable remedial action is taken by the Pakistan government to protect and promote safety, security, and welfare of its own citizens, especially from the minority communities.

Pakistan Human rights activists have further claimed that this is another case of forced conversion and abduction, which are becoming increasingly common in the southern region of Sindh.