Few days ago I shared a news from UN website regarding forced conversion. Here is the other side of the story. Case is in Sind High Court, hopefully there will be a fair decision
by Sarfaraz Memon (Express Tribune)
SUKKUR: Faryal Shah (Rinkle Kumari) appeared before the media on Thursday and made it clear that she had not been kidnapped and had not been forced to convert to Islam and marry Naveed Shah.
Faryal said that she had converted to Islam and had married Naveed Shah of her own free will, and that nobody had pressurised her into this. Reading out the Kalma-e-Tayyaba, Faryal said she was a Muslim girl and therefore had nothing to do with her parents.
Faryal (Rinkle Kumari) and her husband Naveed Shah were produced in front of the Sindh High Court (SHC) Sukker bench on Thursday morning amid tight security.
The couple was escorted by SSP Ghotki Pir Mohammad Shah along with a heavy contingent of police. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Mian Abdul Haq of Bharchoondi Sharif, his son Mian Mohammad Aslam and a large number of their followers were also present.
The couple through their lawyer, Achar Gabole, had filed a constitutional petition stating that their lives were under threat from the relatives of the girl, who had been issuing threats of dire consequences.
Answering a question on threats to their lives, she said, “Our lives are under threat from my maternal uncle Raj Kumar”. She once again made it clear that she was a Muslim and wanted to live with her husband Naveed Shah.
Advocate Mohammad Murad Lund, who was representing Faryal’s grandfather Manohar Lal, told The Express Tribune that the single bench comprising of Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh without recording the statement of the girl had ordered SSP Ghotki to provide protection to the couple and ensure that they are produced before the SHC chief justice in Karachi on March 12.
Advocate Mohammad Murad Lund kept on insisting that, the girl was under pressure due to the presence of a large number of Bharchoondi Sharif followers. He said everything will become “crystal clear” in Karachi, as the girl would be able to record her statement in a tension free atmosphere.
Mian Mohammad Aslam of Bharchoondi Sharif said that everyone had seen that Faryal was neither under pressure and had not said a word against the Pirs. “Rather she gave a statement against her own maternal uncle who is threatening to kill her.”
He said his father, PPP MNA Mian Abdul Haq had also come to the court because the girl’s parents had requested that they wanted to meet their daughter, but they didn’t come to see her.
Aslam said when the couple had come to Dargah Bharchoondi Sharif on February 24, Faryal had spoken to her parents on his instructions and had told them that she had come there to convert to Islam and marry Naveed Shah.
“I personally requested them to come over and meet their daughter to see for themselves that she was not under pressure, but they didn’t’ come,” Mian Aslam said.
He once again said that neither Islam nor the law of the land allowed forced conversion.
This seems really pathetic. there is no room for these type of actions neither in constitution nor in Islam. forceful conversion is not allowed and directly against Quran. I think human rights organizations especially some of rich or political class hindu community member can raise the issue in high court or supreme court or even in Sharia Court as it is a direct violation of Islamic law as well. Only conversion allowed is voluntary conversion by heart. Also I believe Islamic organizations can help in this as it is a direct insult and misuse of Islam.
“Even after a year of `marriage’ I am not used to my new name. I was called Radha before,” she told IRIN on a rare occasion when she was allowed to go to the corner shop on her own to buy vegetables.
Ameena, or Radha as she still calls herself, 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. 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 pressured into signing forms which she later found meant she was married to Ahmed Salim, 25; she was converted to a Muslim after being asked to recite some verses in front of a cleric. She was obliged to wear a veil. Seven months ago, Ameena, who has not seen her parents or three siblings since then and “misses them a lot”, moved with her new family to southern Punjab.
“The abduction and kidnapping of Hindu girls is becoming more and more common,” Amarnath Motumal, a lawyer and leader of Karachi’s Hindu community, told IRIN. “This trend has been growing over the past four or five years, and it is getting worse day by day.”
He said there were at least 15-20 forced abductions and conversions of young girls from Karachi each month, mainly from the multi-ethnic Lyari area. The fact that more and more people were moving to Karachi from the interior of Sindh Province added to the dangers, as there were now more Hindus in Karachi, he said.
“They come to search for better schooling, for work and to escape growing extremism,” said Motumal who believes Muslim religious schools are involved in the conversion business.
“Hindus are non-believers. They believe in many gods, not one, and are heretics. So they should be converted,” said Abdul Mannan, 20, a Muslim student. He said he would be willing to marry a Hindu girl, if asked to by his teachers, “because conversions brought big rewards from Allah [God]. But later I will marry a `real’ Muslim girl as my second wife,” he said.
According to local law, a Muslim man can take more than one wife, but rights activists argue that the law infringes the rights of women and needs to be altered.
Motumal says Hindu organizations are concerned only with the “forced conversion” of girls under 18. “Adult women are of course free to choose,” he said.
Sunil Sushmt, 40, who lives in a village close to the city of Mirpurkhas in central Sindh Province, said his 14-year-old daughter was “lured away” by an older neighbour and, her parents believe, forcibly converted after marriage to a Muslim. “She was a child. What choice did she have?” her father asked. He said her mother still cries for her “almost daily” a year after the event.
According to official figures, Hindus based mainly in Sindh make up 2 percent of Pakistan’s total population of 165 million. “We believe this figure could be higher,” Motumal said.
“My family has lived in Sindh for generations,” Parvati Devi, 70, told IRIN. “But now I worry for the future of my granddaughters and their children. Maybe we too should leave,” she said. “The entire family is seriously considering this.”
*not her real name