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    » 03/28/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Hindu girl tells Supreme Court she would rather die than convert to Islam

    Jibran Khan

    Seized by an influential Muslim, with the "political cover" of an elected official, 19 year old Rinkel Kumari launches a desperate appeal to the courts. “Justice is denied Hindus in Pakistan” and therefore asks to" kill me here "in the courtroom. The family, after reporting to police, forced to leave the village in Sindh. Each year there are 300 forced marriages and conversions

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) - "In Pakistan there is justice only for Muslims, justice is denied Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school] ... kill me". This is the desperate, heartbreaking outburst of Rinkel Kumari, a Hindu girl aged 19, who has entrusted her heartfelt appeal to the judges of the Supreme Court in Islamabad. Her story is similar to that of many other young women and girls belonging to religious minorities - Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis - kidnapped by extremist groups or individuals, most of the time lords or local mafia, which convert them by force and then marry them . And that is what the girl said on 26 March, before the judges of the capital's court.

    The drama of Rinkel Kumari, a student of Mirpur Mathelo, a small village in the province of Sindh, began the evening of February 24: A handful of men seized her and delivered her a few hours later into the hands of a wealthy Muslim scholar, the man then called her parents, warning them that their daughter "wants to convert to Islam."

    Nand Lal, the girl's father, a teacher of an elementary school, accused Naveed Shah, an influential Muslim, of kidnapping his daughter.  The man has the "political cover" provided by Mian Mittho, an elected National Assembly Member, suspected of aiding and abetting. After identifying the perpetrators of the kidnapping of his daughter, he was forced to leave the area of origin to escape the threats of people affiliated with the local mafia. The father found refuge and welcome in Gurdwara in Lahore, in Punjab province, with the rest of his family.

    As often happens in these cases, even the judiciary is complicit: a local judge ordered that the girl should be given to the Muslims, because her conversion is "the result of a spontaneous decision" and also stated the marriage was above board. A claim that was repeated on February 27, at the hearing before the court, after which the girl was "renamed" Faryal Shah.

    However, the story of Rinkel is not an isolated case: every month between 25 and 30 young people suffer similar abuses, for a yearly total of about 300 conversions and forced marriages. Hindu girls - but also Christian - who are torn from their family and delivered into the hands of their husbands / torturers.

    On March 26, she appeared before the judges of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, while the Hindu community waited with bated breath for the girl's statements in court. To avoid pressure, the presiding judge ordered the courtroom cleared and - later - the dramatic testimony was relayed: in Pakistan, "there is no" justice, "kill me here but do not send me back" to the kidnappers.

    Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Anwar Patras, the Diocese of Rawalpindi, condemned "with force" the kidnapping and forced conversion. "The Hindus in Sindh - adds the priest - live a hard life. The reality is getting harder for them, they are forced to migrate because the state is unable to protect them and their property.

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    See also

    25/07/2011 PAKISTAN
    The drama of Farah Hatim, common to many women in Pakistan
    A 24 year old Christian kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and marry her kidnapper. In court later she says it was voluntarily, to protect her family. Hundreds of similar cases occur every year in Pakistan, denounced by the commission for Justice and Peace.

    22/08/2008 PAKISTAN
    Kidnapped Christian girls, forced to convert and marry Muslims: difficulties for the return of one
    Saba and Anila Younas, both Christian, were abducted June 16 by a group of Muslims, and forced to marry and convert to Islam. A doctor’s report establishes that the eldest is 16 years old and thus capable of marriage. Their lawyer announces a legal battle: we will bring it to the Supreme Court.

    19/05/2012 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan, appeal for Christian girl kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam
    To date, the police refuses to liberate the girl, despite the repeated requests of the family. Mary Salik (fictitious name) was kidnapped last May 4 near Faisalabad by an uncle who had converted to Islam. The girl's father denounces conspiracy against his family: "My daughter has heart problems and was kidnapped by deception".

    25/08/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: Muslims kidnap 14 year old Christian to convert her to Islam
    Mehek Masih was taken from her home in broad daylight and under the threat of a gun. Muslim man intends to "purify her" making her "Muslim and my mistress." Archbishop Saldanha cases of this type are "frequent," the law does not protect minorities. One of the many "crosses" that Pakistani Christians have to endure.

    26/11/2015 PAKISTAN
    Sialkot, Muslim kidnaps 13 year old Christian girl and forces her to convert to Islam
    Sana John, aged 13, was kidnapped on her way to school. The family reported her disappearance, but police and the courts fail to intervene. Local Muslim mafia threaten family. The father tells AsiaNews: "I wander from office to office in search of justice, in vain."



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