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Pakistan No Country for Minorities? Kidnapping, Rape, Forced Conversions of Hindus, Sikhs on Rise | Exclusive

By: Manoj Gupta

Edited By: Manjiri Joshi

CNN-News18

Last Updated: October 13, 2022, 17:00 IST

New Delhi, India

The forcible conversion of young Hindu girls has become a major problem in the interior of Sindh province. (File Photo: Reuters)

The forcible conversion of young Hindu girls has become a major problem in the interior of Sindh province. (File Photo: Reuters)

In 2021, the United States placed Pakistan on a list of “countries of particular concern” for religious freedom violations. A US media report estimated that every year, nearly 1,000 minority girls are being kidnapped or forcibly converted to Islam

From kidnapping to rape and forced conversions, the atrocities against minorities in Pakistan are on the rise, said sources. More than 10 Hindu girls were abducted and raped in 2022,

Recent cases in point: A minor Hindu girl, Chanda Mehraj, has been kidnapped from Hyderabad, Pakistan. According to her parents, she was kidnapped from Fateh Chowk area while returning home. A police complaint has been lodged, but she is yet to be found. The family claimed she was being harassed by Shaman Magsi.

A 13-year-old Sikh boy was gang-raped in Jacobabad, Pakistan. The Sindh Police arrested accused Mohsin Jamali and Takri Lashari, but they managed to escape from the civil line police station Jacobabad.

In September, a married Hindu woman and two teenaged girls were allegedly abducted, forcibly converted, and married to Muslims in Sindh province.

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Demanding action, the communities have questioned the “silence of human rights activists”.

MANY SUCH INSTANCES: SOURCES

  • Amid the floods in Sindh, a Hindu girl was raped by two locals on the pretext of providing food.
  • In another incident, two Hindu women foiled a rape bid by an unknown person on road side tents in Sindh.
  • In June, a Hindu teenager, Kareena Kumari, told a court in Karachi that she was forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man.
  • In March, three Hindu girls – Satran Oad, Kaveeta Bheel, Anita Bheel – were abducted, converted to Islam and married to Muslim men within eight days.
  • On March 21, Pooja Kumari was brutally shot dead outside her home in Rohri, Sukkur. Apparently, a man wanted to marry her but she refused, so they killed her.

SINDH: A PROBLEM AREA

The forcible conversion of young Hindu girls has become a major problem in the interior of Sindh province, which has a large Hindu population in Thar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Ghotki and Khairpur areas. Most of the Hindu community members are labourers.

On July 16, 2019, the issue of abducting and forcibly converting Hindu girls in various districts of Sindh province was taken up in the Sindh Assembly, where a resolution was debated and unanimously passed after it was modified over objections of certain lawmakers that it should not be restricted to Hindu girls only. But the bill which criminalised forcible religious conversions was later rejected in the assembly. A similar bill was again proposed but rejected last year.

ALSO READ | Anti-India Lobbying, Pak Terror Links: US Body on Int’l Religious Freedom’s Relentless Efforts to Spoil India’s Image

COUNTRY OF ‘PARTICULAR CONCERN’

In 2021, the United States placed Pakistan on a list of “countries of particular concern” for religious freedom violations.

Human rights organizations and the US media report estimates that every year, nearly 1,000 minority girls are being kidnapped or forcibly converted to Islam.

Catholic news site Aleteia reported that in 2020, the number of forced conversion cases rose to more than 2,000.

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first published:October 13, 2022, 17:00 IST
last updated:October 13, 2022, 17:00 IST
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