Lahore (Pakistan), April 14: Pakistan’s leading rights advocates and Human Rights Activists condemn ‘anti-minority’ lawmakers in Pakistan and are demanding arrest of lawmaker Mian Mitho for his alleged involvement in the abduction and forced conversion of Hindu girls in southern Sindh province.
Rights activists and advocates held demonstrations at Lahore Press Club on Thursday as minority leaders continue a campaign against Mian Mitho, a member of the National Assembly, who is accused of helping force Rinkle Kumari, 19, to embrace Islam and marry a Muslim youth.
Mitho, a Pakistan People’s Party member, runs a madrassa (Islamic seminary) in Sindh province. He says Kumari wanted to convert. The case has caused an outcry in Pakistan and led to the National Assembly’s standing committee on human rights recommending the issue be brought to the notice of the prime minister last month.
More than 50 activists organized by the Joint Action Committee for Peoples’ Rights (JAC), a coalition of Muslim and Christian NGOs demonstrated against Mitho and demanded his arrest.
“Mitho has forced 20 Hindu girls in his area to marry Muslim boys; this is shameful. We shall continue protests until such politicians are dragged out of assemblies,” said Shahtaj Qizilbash, a JAC convener, adding “Hindu and Christian girls alike are being victimized.”
The Supreme Court has ordered Kumari be kept at a women’s shelter while the case is being dealt with and announced April 18 as the date for the next hearing.
Rinkel Kumari, a Hindu girl aged 19, who has entrusted her heartfelt appeal to the judges of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, saying that, “In Pakistan there is justice only for Muslims, justice is denied Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school] ... kill me”.
This is the desperate, heartbreaking outburst of Her story is similar to that of many other young women and girls belonging to religious minorities - Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis - kidnapped by extremist groups or individuals, most of the time lords or local mafia, which convert them by force and then marry them . And that is what the girl said on 26 March, before the judges of the capital's court.
Meanwhile, the Hindu community of Mirpur Mathelo, Kumari’s hometown, has complained of receiving threats. “The situation will remain tense for local Hindus whether the verdict favors them or not,” said Ramesh Kumar, who is from the Pakistan Hindu council.
Father Mushtaq Anjum, a Pakistani Camillian priest based in the Philippines, also expressed his concern about what is going on in his country.
“Our country is becoming a dangerous place for women. We need stronger legislation to tackle abuses against them and to make sure legislators are accountable for the same laws,” he said.
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