04/19/2012, 00.00
PAKISTAN

Three Hindu women forced to convert have to go back to their Muslim husbands

by Jibran Khan
Pakistan's Supreme Court rules against all three. Abducted back in February in Sindh province, they were forced to marry Muslim men. Families complain about pressure from powerful Muslim groups. All three received death threats.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Three young Hindu women abducted in February and forced to convert to Islam and marry three Muslim men must return to their husbands, Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled. For the justices, the three women freely chose their fate. Their families object that they were placed under huge pressure from Muslim religious groups.

On 26 March, one of the three women, Rinkle Kumari (pictured), told the judges that she wanted to go back to her family. In her statement to the court, she said, "there is justice only for Muslims; there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don't send me to Darul-Aman (Qur'anic school). All these people are hand in glove, they will kill us".

The other two women expressed a similar desire to go back to their family.

"This is a great injustice," said Hindu activist Dilip Kumar. "Three weeks ago, the three women said they wanted to go back to their parents, but the judges chose to send them to prison to put pressure on them." If they had not returned to their husbands, he believes, Muslims would have killed them.

For Fr Anwar Patras, a priest from the diocese of Rawalpindi, the court bent to the will of Muslim groups who kidnap young Hindu and Christian women to force them to convert and become prostitutes.

"The government must adopt a law against forced conversions," he said. "It is clear that the young women were put under pressure to convert. The Supreme Court was their last hope and it let them down."

Rinkel Kumari, a 19-year-old Hindu student was abducted on 24 February in Mirpur Mathelo, a small village in Sindh (southeastern Pakistan), by a thugs hired by a rich Muslim scholar.

The two other women, Lata and Asha, were abducted in Jacobabad and Larkana.

In order to get their daughters back, the parents filed a petition with the Supreme Court to avoid the local Islamic court.

On 26 March, the three women appeared before the court, testifying that they had been forced to convert and that they wanted to go back to their families.

The justices incarcerated them to allow them "to reflect" on their choice without the possibility of meeting their parents.

Each month, 25 to 30 young women are abducted for a total of about 300 forced conversions and marriages a year.

Young Hindu but also Christian women and teenage girls are taken away from their families and handed over to their would-be husbands and torturers.

 

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