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Another Hindu girl forced to convert

KARACHI: Another Hindu girl has been abducted, converted and forcibly married off in the Lyari area of the city, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reported on Thursday.

What makes this incident sound more appalling is the alleged involvement of a police constable in the forced conversion of the 15-year-old girl, who has been finally recovered after her father lodged an FIR at the Baghdadi police station.

As the girl, Bharati, remains in custody at the women police station in Saddar for further investigations, her father alleges that she has been converted and married off against her will.

Amarnath of the HRCP says that the girl has been threatened not to revert to her original religion or else she would be liable to a death penalty. “As a result, she is confused and is scared to go back home.”

According to her father, Narayan Das, Bharti went missing on December 12, after she accompanied her friend to a nearby store in the Baghdadi area of Lyari. “She used to learn stitching at a training centre in the area. As soon as she came back home around noon, one of her friends came and asked her mother to let her accompany her. After that we didn’t see her for two days.”

In whatever little time he got to speak to her, Das says his daughter is scared and confused. “She fears that we’ll be killed as well if she reverts (to her religion) and she cried copiously when I tried to console her.”

Das alleges that a “notorious” police constable, Abid son of Anwar, was behind her abduction and conversion. “He is known as an alcoholic,” as well as “good for nothing”, Das claims.

He filed an application with the Baghdadi police station on December 15 and it was not until of December 18 that the police registered an FIR. The Baghdadi police confirmed that an FIR under section 365—B was registered on the day mentioned by the father.

They, however, refuted the claim made by Das that Bhartai had been forcibly converted. “Both the girl and the boy, Abid, are in police custody and they have a certificate of marriage which was registered after the girl was converted at the Jamia Binnoria as Ayesha.”

Das refuses to accept the police version and claims that the age of her 15-year-old daughter has been changed in the marriage certificate. He is waiting for the case to be heard at a sessions court today (Friday).

Amarnath says that forced conversion of Hindu women in Karachi as well as Sindh has become a common phenomenon. “There is no one to listen to the ordeal of the families,” he says.

Source: THE NEWS

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