Punjab Govt Forms Committee To Pacify Agitated Sikh Community Over Forced Conversion of 19-Year-Old Girl
A high-level committee under the supervision of Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat has been formed by the government of Punjab to negotiate with Pakistan’s Sikh community regarding the alleged forced conversion of a Sikh girl.
According to a report in Dawn, a memorandum from the district police officer of Nankana Sahib to the inspector general of Punjab told of a First Information Report filed on August 28. The said FIR was registered against six people who were accused of kidnapping and forceful conversion of a 19-year-old Sikh girl, Jagjit Kaur.
The memorandum said that the police had traced the suspects to Lahore and arrested one of them. Meanwhile, three of the suspects had obtained pre-arrest bails, while two others were on the run.
However, the police were later contacted by Sheikh Sultan, Kaur’s advocate. Sultan told police that she had embraced Islam of her own accord and contracted marriage with Mohammad Hassan, one of the suspects, without being forced.
Moreover, a writ petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court on Kaur’s behalf against her family and local police, accusing them of ‘illegal harassment’.
Kaur has also submitted a written statement in the court, arguing that she had converted to Islam and married Hassan of her own will.
Meanwhile, an additional sessions judge has ordered that Kaur be housed in Darul Aman, Lahore.
After Kaur submitted her statements in court, the Sikh community had formed a 30-member committee and demanded that police bring her back to her house regardless of whether her conversion was forced or consensual.
The DPO in his memorandum had attached the documentary and video proof of the nikkah and Kaur’s conversion to Islam. He also informed the IGP that the Sikh community was agitating against the incident and hence they should be taken on board and pacified.
More importantly, the DPO had added in the memorandum, “It is pertinent to mention here that in the backdrop of Indo-Pak tension vis-a-vis [occupied] Kashmir, any such protest could damage image of the country internationally.”