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Sindh’s Hindu Community Holds Demonstration Against Forced Conversions

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KARACHI: A demonstration was organised by the Hindu community of Sindh outside the Karachi Press Club (KPC) against the conversion of a few girls from their community to Islam and to protest the discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan.

Demonstrators largely consisted of Hindus and were also joined by Muslims and Christians. The participants were carrying pictures of Payal Kumari, Moomal, Shanoo, Reveena, Reena, Pooja Kumari, Rinkle, Pooja Menghwar and Vidhya, who the protesters alleged were forcibly converted to Islam.

Their pictures are being displayed at the protest to show solidarity with the girls after they were placed under private custody, a protestor Dr Birma said.

Forced conversions have increased during the first half of the current year from January to June. The issue was also raised in the Sindh Assembly, which slammed the culture of forced conversion in the province on July 10 through a resolution moved by member of provincial assembly (MPA) Nand Kumar Goklani.

Goklani claimed that as many as 41 Hindu girls have been converted forcibly from July 1 to 15. He alleged that all were forcibly converted to Islam.

Nobody is ready to hear our agony, said a social activist Raj Kumar Wanjara. His niece Rinkle Kumari was among the girls converted to Islam during 2012.

Kumar said that even the provincial assembly had failed to stop forced conversions of minorities. We are unsafe and we are being harassed in Pakistan, he added.

Hindu community believes that forced conversion is part of the official doctrine to eliminate Hindus from the country, Wanjara said. This scheme was launched before the partition but failed to eliminate us because we are the sons of soil, he said.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) released a report in 2018, titled ‘Force Conversion and Forced Marriages’. The report estimated that 1,000 women and girls of religious minorities were abducted and converted to Islam every year in Pakistan.

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According to an Islamic scholar Ayoob Jan Sarhendi, forced conversion is against the teachings of Islam, while adding that he only provided an opportunity and legal support to those who willfully agreed to convert to Islam. Sarhendi has been accused of aiding the forceful conversion of Hindu girls in his area.

He believes that those campaigning against conversions are Indian agents who want to tarnish the image of Islam.

Barrister Ghulam Mustafa Mahesor while commenting on interfaith marriages said that there is no law in Pakistan which guarantees interfaith marriages.

Meanwhile Wanjara said that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed equal rights to all citizens of country. He also objected to the constitutional bar that says that non-Muslims cannot be sworn in as head of the state in Pakistan.

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