Pakistani Hindus Angered By ‘Forced Conversions’


KARACHI – Pakistan’s Hindu minorityis angered by “forced conversions”, withleaders of the community saying girls asyoung as six years were being pressuredto change their religion.”Can you accept your daughters beingforcibly married to Hindu men?” saidRaj Kumar, whose niece Rinkle Kumariwas allegedly forced to convert andmarry a Muslim man in 2012. Rinkle’scase made headlines and was even takenup by the Supreme Court.Speaking at a seminar at the KarachiPress Club on Sunday on the theme”Hindus in Pakistan – issues and solutions”,Kumar called six-year-old Jumnaon to the stage and said she and her 10-year-old sister Pooja would have beenforced to change their religion if themedia had not raised their case.”What do children as young as Jumnaand Pooja know about Islam and theirown religion, for that matter, that they’dwant to convert? This is the height ofinjustice,” Kumar was quoted as sayingby the influential Dawn daily.Jumna’s mother Marju and father Soma,residents of Mirpurkhas city in Sindhprovince, were present at the event.”We are poor people. My little girlshelped supplement our income by sellingclay toys and utensils door to door. OnFebruary 4, they left home as usual withtheir basket of toys but didn’t return. Weraised an alarm,” Soma said.”After several reports in the media aboutour missing girls, it was found that theyhad been staying with a man namedRajab Pathan. The police of our arealater produced them in court as Muslimchildren. We were prevented by thepolice from seeing them too.”Soma said the court sent the girls to aDarul Aman or womens’ home followingsuspicions they may have been subjectedto child abuse at home.”Little Jumna has been given back to usnow but Pooja is still at the Darul Aman.She seems to have been brainwashedinto saying strange things about us. Hermind seems affected by the trauma,” hesaid.All Hindu Rights Organisation chairmanKishan Chand Parwani, one of theorganisers of the seminar, said it was sadto see the problems of Pakistan’sminorities “multiplying instead ofdecreasing”.Former lawmaker Safdar Abbasi said itwas a sad reality that not just Hindu templesbut mosques, imambargahs or Shiaprayer halls and churches were no longersafe in Pakistan.