CII urged to formulate laws against forced conversion of Hindu girls

-Photo by Faras Ghani

ISLAMABAD: A Hindu member of the National Assembly requested the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Tuesday to formulate effective laws to discourage the forced conversion of Hindu girls on the pretext of marriage.

The CII meeting held in Islamabad discussed the Hindu Marriage Act, presented in the National Assembly by MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar who insisted that it was the right of the Hindu community to have their marriages registered in the relevant districts.

“There is currently no law regarding Hindu marriage, as a result, our marriages are not registered anywhere,” Dr Kumar said, adding that this had many serious repercussions.

He was addressing an in-camera session of CII for around 45 minutes, but later spoke to media about the need for a well-defined marriage law for Hindus.

“The main issue faced by our community is forced conversions as the kidnapped girls ultimately submit to the key demand of the kidnappers – convert and marry a Muslim,” he said.

MNA deplores absence of Hindu marriage registration provisions

He said that the law being framed should declare the minimum age of marriage for a Hindu girl to be 18 years and 21 years for boy.

Currently, only Nadra-issued CNICs serve as proof of marriage for Hindus since there is no forum to register their unions.

“The downside is that any person can get an affidavit made from the court declaring that a certain boy or a girl is their spouse – and Nadra will accept that affidavit as proof of marriage,” he added.

Dr Kumar said that the bill submitted to the CII and the Ministry of Law contains clauses relevant to the Hindu religion and tradition.

“There is no concept of divorce in Hinduism, therefore the term separation has been used in the bill,” he told Dawn.

However, there are more issues to contend with before a law on Hindu marriage is framed, as the law ministry has already raised an objection that they can frame laws only for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Law ministry officials have told the MNA that marriage laws were a provincial subject and a law for ICT can only be presented in the National Assembly.

There are around eight million Hindus in the country, mostly in Sindh. The bill currently under discussion suggests that all the Hindu marriages should be registered in the relevant district councils within 15 days.

The marriage certificates, which still need to be devised, must be attested by the pundit who solemnised the marriage, along with two witnesses.

Source: Dawn