Teenage Hindu girl abducted in Sindh, married off to Muslim

    Days after the shocking murder of a Hindu teen for resisting an armed abduction after refusing a marriage proposal, another Hindu girl, 13-year-old Satran Oad, has been abducted by three armed men from Pithoro in Sindh.

    According to reports, the girl was later taken to Lahore and married off to a Muslim man, namely Umar Mangrio, after being forcefully converted to Islam.

    While netizens strongly react to the incident, it merits a mention that the abduction comes just days after an 18-year-old Hindu girl, Pooja Kumari, was shot in the head at her home in Sukkur. The murder suspect, Wahid Bux Lashari, who has been arrested, wanted to marry the teenager but she refused, police said.

    It was followed by another incident in Tando Jan Mohammad where on March 23, a Hindu girl, Anita Meghwar, was reportedly forcefully converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man named Sikandar Jarwar.

    “Highly frustrating! How can you celebrate #PakistanDay when your minorities are suffering every day?,” a user had tweeted while addressing Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari.

    On March 22, another abduction, forced conversion and marriage of 15-year-old Dia Meghwar was reported in Mirpurkhas whereas the abduction of 13-year-old Bindiya Meghwar, who had been converted to Islam and married off in Khairpur, was reported on March 17.

    Read more: Teenage Hindu girl gunned down by Muslim suitor in Sindh

    “The government of Pakistan discussed issues faced by Muslims abroad whilst ignoring the atrocities committed against minorities at home,” said a statement issued by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) on March 23.

    Pointing to the consistent failure of the government to tackle religion and gender-based violence within the country, the CSJ urged the government “to adopt a policy and implement a national action plan to address extremism, violence and persecution of minorities.”

    “The government should address the impunity associated with the practice,” said the CSJ while underlining that in 2021 alone at least 78 cases of forced or involuntary conversions of 39 Hindu and 38 Christian minor girls/women, besides a Sikh girl, were reported.

    There was an 80 per cent increase in such incidents from 2020 and 50 per cent compared to 2019. “Notably, 33 percent of victims were 14 years of age or below, and 76 percent of the victims were below 18 years of age. The age of 18 percent victims was not mentioned, therefore there is reason to believe that 94 percent of victims were minors,” said CSJ.

    The data challenged the official narrative in Pakistan claiming the incidents of abductions and religious conversions were basically love marriages contracted after voluntarily accepting Islam.

    “The change of faith largely by underage girls speaks volumes of the vulnerability of the converts and the motivation of perpetrators. The minority girls and women are targeted because of the social and material vulnerabilities, hence they cannot avail access to justice, which the perpetrators use to manipulate the justice system and get away with their crimes,” the CSJ said.

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