7 arrested after Hindu sisters ‘kidnapped, converted to Islam & married off’ in Pakistan
The girls, Raveena (16) and Reena (14), were allegedly abducted by a group of men from Pakistan's Sindh Province and forced into marriage, after converting to Islam against their will. A video which seemed to show a cleric performing the marriage later went viral online.
Video footage has also emerged of the girls’ father protesting outside a police station, saying he would not leave and that police were changing their statements.
Another video in which Reena & Raveena converted to Islam & marred off to men.In video - Molvi seen saying that acc. to constitution would protect them. Same script written.Who will protect them? When state & it leaders are silent and the media don’t care about it. pic.twitter.com/EHUrf0nTBI— Veengas (@VeengasJ) March 22, 2019
Father of Raveena and Reena Hindu girls who held protest at police station.“You can kill me, I had the patience, but now I won’t leave.”I spoke to his son Shaman who said that “Madam - we are not citizen of Pakistan.” “The police kept changing statements.” pic.twitter.com/ODWfIalnyJ— Veengas (@VeengasJ) March 23, 2019
The high-level verbal sparring began on Sunday with the intervention of India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who tweeted that she had asked India’s high commissioner in Islamabad for clarification on media reports about the girls’ kidnapping.
The tweet prompted a response from Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who said the case was an “internal issue” and added that he hopes Swaraj will act “with same diligence when it comes to rights of Indian Minorities.”
Mam its Pakistin internal issue and rest assure its not Modi’s India where minorities are subjugated its Imran Khan’s Naya Pak where white color of our flag is equally dearer to us.I hope you ll act with same diligence when it comes to rights of Indian Minorities https://t.co/MQC1AnnmGR— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) March 24, 2019
The back and forth continued, with Swaraj accusing Chaudhry of feeling “jittery” and harboring a “guilty conscience.” During a press conference later, Chaudhry brought up religious riots which occurred in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. Pakistan has accused India of human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state.
Mr.Minister @fawadchaudhry - I only asked for a report from Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad about the kidnapping and forced conversion of two minor Hindu girls to Islam. This was enough to make you jittery. This only shows your guilty conscience. @IndiainPakistan— Chowkidar Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 24, 2019
Police were accused online of being dismissive of the girls' case after they sought protection, although they later investigated and made arrests. So far, police have not named the seven people arrested for their roles in the kidnapping, however.
A source at the Indian foreign ministry cited three other instances of Hindu or Sikh girls in Pakistan being forced to marry and convert to Islam during the past two years and said that India has, on more than one occasion, raised the issue of “intimidation” of Hindus and Sikhs at their places of worship.
Pakistan-based activist M. Jibran Nasir tweeted a video of the two girls claiming that they accepted Islam, but said police could not ignore that they were underage, illegally married and could both be "under immense pressure.”
#Reena 14 & #Raveena 16 claiming they will fully accepted Islam. This can't be an excuse for Police. Cant ignore both girl are underage, were illegally married after conversion & both could be under immense pressure. For more on Forced conversions read https://t.co/7gT9vigqnzpic.twitter.com/vp6T2MzPtj— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) March 22, 2019
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