Two Sikh girls from Kashmir have been reportedly abducted and converted to Islam. Of these, one girl who was married off to the Muslim boy is still missing.
On June 26, a case of forced conversion came to light from Jammu & Kashmir. As per reports, an 18-year-old Sikh Girl from Badgam district was lured and forcefully converted to Islam. Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) have also raised the issue on social media platforms urging the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir to intervene.
Another case is of a girl from Mehjoor Nagar in Srinagar who attended function of her Muslim friend. As per Bali, she was married off to a boy who attended the function. While the girl was not a minor, she is still missing.
The case of handing over girl to a Muslim family
According to Sardar Santpal Singh, President Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee-Budgam, who narrated the whole incident, the girl was mentally unstable. A Muslim man lured her on the pretext of love and marriage to convert her. He said, “A girl from Sikh community has been forcefully converted to Islam. She is not mentally stable. The man lured her on the pretext of love. It is not a love affair but a clear case of Love Jihad. The government is acting negatively against us.”
He further added that despite written assurance by the SP who was handling the case that she would be handed over back to the Sikh family, the court orders came against them. He said, “The police inspector had assured in writing that the girl would be handed over to them after presenting her in the Court. However, the judge gave the judgement in favour of the Muslim man and handed over the girl to him.”
The family of the girl was not allowed in the Court
Santpal Singh further said that the parents and relatives of the girl were sitting outside the Court as they were not allowed inside due to Covid regulations. He said, “The Police asked the family members of the girl to sit outside to avoid the crowd in the Court. However, all the relatives of the Muslim man were allowed in the Court. The judge recorded the statement of the girl in the absence of her family members and took note of the statements of the relatives of the Muslim man. No one from the family of the girl was called in the Court during the proceedings.”
He further added that the judge should have handed over the girl to the Sikh family at least for a week. If the girl still wanted to go to the Muslim man, no one would have stopped her. “But at least for a week, the girl should have been given to the Sikh family,” he added. Santpal urged the majority community (Muslims) to come in support of them. He reminded them how the Sikh community helped them in bringing girls back from cities like Pune and Mumbai and supported them in their time of need. “Can’t you help us now? Come forward and support us. The brotherhood should remain intact in the Kashmir valley,” he asked.
He urged the government and LG to hand over the girl for at least a week. They will not interfere if the girl decides to go back to the Muslim family after one week. Someone in the background could be heard saying that the Muslim man has already married 2-3 times.
‘What kind of system does not allow girls family to enter the court?’
Another Sikh man who was present at the scene said, “What kind of system is functioning in the Court that passes the judgement without hearing the girl’s family? Why was the judgement passed in a day? Why girl’s family was not allowed in the Court?” He urged the central government to intervene. He added that the girl was kidnapped around four days ago. She was recovered by the Police from Chandoosa. “She was kept in remand for two days and presented in the court on Saturday,” he said.
Those aware of the case said that the judge did not even ask about the girl’s parents. “What kind of judge was he who did not even care to inquire about girl’s parents?” A Sikh man asked.
‘Pass a law against Love Jihad like UP’
Another Sikh man present outside the Court said that Jammu and Kashmir needs a law against forceful conversions just like Uttar Pradesh. The girl should not be handed over to the man without the signatures of the girl’s parents. The Sikh community urged the government to initiate an investigation in the case.
The incident attracted criticism from all sections
Akali Dal’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa said, “Urging J&K LG to address this issue of Srinagar. A Sikh girl (mentally disturbed) has been given to the family of a Muslim guy by the Court. The family of the girl wasn’t even allowed to attend the Court’s proceedings while the boy’s whole family was inside the Court.”
This is biased action towards minority Sikhs & this is not the first case of conversion of Sikh girls in the name of love— Manjinder Singh Sirsa (@mssirsa) June 26, 2021
The girl’s family seeks her custody for a week & after that she can choose to take the decision as she wants. It is important that the girl is given freedom pic.twitter.com/koARSyLW0C
He further called it a biased action towards the minority. Claiming it was not the first case of conversion in the valley on the pretext of love, he said, “The girl’s family seeks her custody for a week & after that, she can choose to make the decision as she wants. It is important that the girl is given freedom.”
Tejinder Singh Sodhi, Reporter CNN News 18, said, “Sikh community in Kashmir is treated as second class citizens, nothing has changed for the community in the past 70 years. Why not a single person from the majority community is standing with Sikhs right now when the same Sikhs have always stood to protect their daughters.”
Sikh community in Kashmir is treated as second class citizens, nothing has changed for the community in the past 70 years. Why not a single person from the majority community is standing with Sikhs right now when the same Sikhs have always stood to protect their daughters. https://t.co/8LkszEQAd2— Tejinder Singh Sodhi 🇮🇳 (@TejinderSsodhi) June 26, 2021
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) also raised the issue. They said, “It is reported #Sikh Sangat is protesting at Srinagar Judicial Complex allegedly for ‘biased’ decision related to a case of ‘forced conversion’ of a Sikh girl who is reported to be mentally unstable.” They urged LG and J&K Police to ensure the safety of Sikhs in J&K.
Sikhs in Kashmir alleges that family of boy given custody of girl by Court, was present inside the Court, while the girl’s family was not taken into confidence. This is a clear case of biased action towards minority #Sikhs and this is not the first such case. Kindly take action. pic.twitter.com/wQrKb3TLt9— Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) (@SGPCAmritsar) June 26, 2021
They further added, “Sikhs in Kashmir alleges that family of a boy given custody of girl by Court, was present inside the Court, while the girl’s family was not taken into confidence. This is a clear case of biased action towards minority #Sikhs, and this is not the first such case,” and urged the authorities to take action. The man who lured the girl is reportedly 60-years-old.
Police promised to hand over the girl to the family
United Sikh Forum, Jammu And Kashmir, posted several videos in which Sikh community members were seen protesting outside the court premises.
In one of the videos, SP was heard saying that they would hand over the girl to the Sikh family. He said that the girl caused a drama in the Court and told the judge that Police was harassing and torturing her.
He further assured the protesting Sikhs that the girl would be soon handed over to the Sikh family and urged the protesters to leave the premises outside the Court.