A day after India rebuked Pakistan over the abduction and forced conversion of a Sikh girl, the young woman was sent back to her parents, latest media reports said on Saturday. According to news agency ANI, authorities in Pakistan’s Punjab province have arrested 8 persons in connection with the case. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday had said that India shared the concerns with Pakistan over Sikh girl’s abduction, conversion to Islam and a forced marriage to a Muslim man. “Ministry has received a number of representations from various quarters of civil society in India, at reports of the incident of abduction and forced conversion of a minor Sikh girl in Pakistan. We have shared the concerns with Pakistan government and asked for immediate remedial action.” News agency ANI quoted MEA as saying.
Daughter of a Sikh Granthi (priest), the girl was kidnapped by some unidentified men in Nankana Sahib, which happens to be the birthplace of Guru Nanak - the founder of Sikhism. The incident came to light after the video of the ‘nikah’ went viral. The visibly shaken girl was seen uttering few verses from the Quran. She even declared in the video that she was marrying the boy, identified as one Mohammad Ehsaan, on her own will. She also claimed in the video that she is 19. However, her brothers have said that the girl is between 16 and 17 years.
After intense scrutiny and protests, there are reports coming in from Pakistan that the officials have ordered some probe. Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has ordered an investigation into the Nanakana Sahib incident. The family of the girl also issued a video appeal to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Chief Justice of the country.
Modi government has also reacted to the incident. “We have, time and again raised the issue of persecution, abduction, treatment of minorities and conversions in Pakistan. They have an obligation towards these people, they must fulfil it,” foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said. “They must check themselves before saying anything to others, their home is burning, so they must first focus on it,” he added.
“Sikhs of Pakistan seek help from @ImranKhanPTI. I urge @narendramodi Ji & @DrSJaishankar Ji to raise this issue at global level bcos forced conversions happening in Pakistan have angered all the Sikhs This issue must be taken up at @UN as it threatens Sikhs freedom of religion,” President of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa said on Twitter.
“We stand in solidarity with Sikh brothers in Pakistan who are there at Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib to support the demand of Sikh father whose daughter, Jagjit Kaur was forcefully converted to Islam. I appeal to Sikhs all across the world to stand against forced conversions in Pak,” he said in another tweet.
Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh also condemned the incident. “This need to stop here.let’s not get there.every religion is beautiful.don’t force anyone to convert in any..GOD is one..let god only decide which religion we born in.don’t try to become god yourself.strict action should be taken towards this @ImranKhanPTI @DrSJaishankar,” Singh said on micro-blogging site.