Islamabad, June 16 (IANS) The alleged abduction and conversion of a minor Hindu girl in Pakistan’s Thar district has triggered a wave of anger among members of the area’s Hindu community.
Ravita Meghwar, 16, had allegedly been abducted by men from the Syed community of Wanharo village near Nagarparkar area of the district, on June 6th.
On Thursday, the girl, along with “husband” Nawaz Ali Shah, had met local journalists in Umerkot to “inform” them of her consent in both embracing Islam and her marriage.
She claimed to have embraced Islam in the presence of an Islamic preacher, near the Samarro town of Umerkot district.
On Friday, the girl once again claimed to journalists in Islamkot that she had not been kidnapped but had eloped with Shah. She also demanded protection for both herself and her husband.
However, the Hindu community, along with the girl’s family, has insisted that she was kidnapped and forced to convert. Satram Das Meghwar, Ravita’s father, has alleged that influential members of the Syed community had kidnapped his daughter after giving sleeping pills to the family.
He alleged that despite frequent appeals, the Thar police avoided tracing the girl till she was forced to convert.
According to the marriage certificate issued by the preacher, “The girl is eighteen years old, can marry the person of her choice and her Islamic name is Gulnar”.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker from Thar and the chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, has expressed his concern over the alleged abduction and the subsequent conversion of Ravita.
“A Hindu girl below 18 years of age cannot be converted according to the Hindu Marriage Act,” he said.