At a press conference held by organisations working for the Hindu community, Hindu Panchayat Karachi Division president Amarnath Motumal said that women who were already married within the community and were pregnant were now being forced to convert and get married.
“It is unfortunate that this is now taking place and even they are not spared,” said the lawyer, explaining that he was fighting one such case in the Sindh High Court where an expecting Hindu woman was converted and married off. “We have challenged this in court, as a marriage certificate was issued to her with a fake name.”
Hindu activists such as Chander Kolhi of the Pakistan Hindu Seva said that according to their fact-finding mission, there have been 30 cases of violence against Hindu community in the past year. However, he pointed out that official data on forced conversions was not present.
Kolhi went on to share experiences of their team working on issues of their community, and said that bonded labour was prevalent in Umerkot, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas districts. “The labourers live in harsh conditions. Their wives are taken away by their landlords,” he said. He said that Hindu women were also being raped in rural Sindh.
Touching upon the attacks on Hindu temples in different parts of the province few months ago, he said that none of the culprits have been arrested.
Where is Rinkle Kumari?
Journalists questioning about the whereabouts of Rinkle Kumari, a Hindu girl whose conversion to Islam sparked protests and outcry in 2012, were given vague answers by the activists.
Motumal said that he had no idea where the girl was while the Pakistan Hindu Seva president Sanjesh S Dhanja said that he had heard that she was a teacher at a school. A journalist said that he had heard that she was living in Ghotki.
“We are not in touch with her and we don’t know where she is,” said Motumal.
Referring to a non-minorities group’s demand for separate electorate, the activists said that they were against it. “We are totally against a separate electorate. We support the current system of joint electorate. For joint system, we had struggled and appealed to Zia and Pervez Musharraf endlessly.”
Motumal said that under the current system, they were recognised and identified as Pakistanis and as one nation
“Those who are demanding a separate electorate system are actually not thinking about the minorities community but of themselves only,” he said.