Even a pandemic of the scale and extent of Wuhan coronavirus has not deterred radical Maulvis in Pakistan from intimidating and browbeating minorities into converting to Islam. Recently, Islamist fundamentalists forced a Hindu family in Karachi to embrace Islam as the menace of coronavirus sweeps Pakistan.
A Hindu family in Karachi was attacked amidst coronavirus lockdown in Pakistan on April 12, 2020, for refusing Islam. The case is from PIA township in Karachi where a Maulvi named Usman teamed up with the Hindu family’s neighbour named Shahid to assault the minorities for their denial to accept Islam.
Basant Kumar, a Hindu and his mother were also threatened to be killed if they disobeyed the order. The incident was narrated by Basant’s brother in a video. He alleged that 4-5 Muslim evangelists had threatened and attacked them to convert to Islam. In the video, the man claims that the matriarch of their house was grabbed and slapped by Maulana Usman, repeatedly asking her to read Kalama and embrace Islam.
The man in video claims that his brother Basant Kumar and their mother were beaten up by Maulana Usman. He adds that after thrashing his mother, Usman asked her to read Kalama, an important religious obligation to embrace Islam. A skull cap of the attacker, Maulana Usman, can be seen on the floor of the house of the Hindu family.
The man in the video further claims that despite the lockdown amidst the coronavirus, Maulana Usman, Maulvi Shahid and others have been defying the restrictions and offering namaz at the terrace of their building. However, belonging to the Hindu community and given the treatment meted out to minorities in their country, the Hindu family did not file a complaint against the illegal gathering by the Muslim clerics to offer namaz.
Basant’s brother also alleged that three days earlier a scuffle broke out between the same Maulana and Basant when the religious zealot had asserted that he will settle the scores with the family soon. Nonetheless, an FIR has been lodged in this matter by the Karachi police and investigation is underway.
Pakistan is notoriously known for its persecution of not only religious minorities but also ethnic minorities within their own country. The forceful conversion programmes have often been unleashed against the minorities especially Christians, Sikhs and Hindus living in Pakistan with utmost brutality. Therefore, minorities in Pakistan live under perpetual fear of persecution at the hands of Muslim fundamentalists who enjoy state patronage and support. Minorities are also wary of the cruel ‘blasphemy’ laws that are often used as an instrument of subjugation by the radical Muslim majority.
Past forcible conversions of minorities in Pakistan
Recently, radical Islamists and clerics in Pakistan demanded the beheading of a Hindu minor girl named Mehak Kumari, who was abducted, converted to Islam and forcibly married to a Muslim man, for leaving Islam. Mehak was abducted from the Jacobabad district of Sindh province in Pakistan on January 15. In a video going viral on Twitter, few radical Islamists and clerics of Pakistan are heard blaming 14-year-old Mehak of murtad, or an act of Apostasy, and are demanding death punishment, accusing her of insulting Islam.
A few months ago, Huma Younus, a 14-year-old Christian girl from Karachi, was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to her captor Abdul Jabbar. According to the reports, Younas was kidnapped on October 10 by three men who waited on the girl’s parents to leave the house before forcibly abducting her. She was reportedly taken to Dera Ghazi Khan, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, about 600 Kms from her home.
Earlier, Jagjit Kaur, a Sikh girl was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in Nankana Sahib which had caused a huge uproar. In another horrific incident, a 13-year-old Pooja Sotahar Kumari, daughter of Fatan Rathore, resident of village Bakhsho Laghari in Hyderabad district’s Hosri Taluka, was kidnapped, forcefully converted and subsequently married off to a man identified as Syed Irshad Shah.
Forced religious conversion in Pakistan amidst global pandemic
However, what is particularly deplorable in the latest case is that the Muslim zealots have continued with their nefarious agenda of forcible conversion of minorities to Islam even as the existential threat in the form of coronavirus looms over their head. The total number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has seen a sharp rise recently, with as many as 6919 cases and 128 fatalities already reported from the country where the testing has been abysmally low and the public health system awfully incompetent.