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Sikh girl conversion row: How The Quint created confusion regarding the girl’s age and quietly changed report once proofs emerged

The Quint is accused of putting out incorrect information about the Sikh girl's age in its latest report to insinuate that the girl had consented to the relationship with the Muslim man.

The left-wing news portal ‘The Quint’, which has a history of distorting facts regarding sensitive cases, has yet again caught peddling misinformation in the latest case of Sikh girl’s abduction and conversion to Islam in Jammu and Kashmir. The Quint is accused of putting out incorrect information about the Sikh girl’s age in its latest report to insinuate that the girl had consented to the relationship with the Muslim man. After getting caught propagating misinformation, the Quint has quietly altered its report to put out the girl’s real age.

On Tuesday, the Quint had published a report saying that Manpreet Kaur, one of the two Sikh women who was forcefully converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in Kashmir, remarried a man from the Sikh community on Tuesday, 27 June, just two days after she was handed over to her family by the police.

Manmeet Kaur, a resident of Srinagar, was abducted, converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man in Jammu and Kashmir. After severe protests across the country by the Sikh community, she was handed to her family, who got her remarried to one Sukhbir Singh. The marriage took place on Tuesday in front of the police and the girl’s family.

In its report, Quint mentioned that Manpreet Kaur was 26-years-old and not 18, as suggested by several on social media. Further, the Quint claimed that Shahid Nazir Bhat, the Muslim man accused of abducting and converting the Sikh lady, was aged 29 years, contrary to the reports that Shahid is a 60-year-old man with two kids. Citing the police statement, the Quint had dismissed the rumours surrounding Shahid’s age, saying it was “baseless”.

Image Source: Sandeep Singh

The report further stated that the Jammu and Kashmir Police handed over Manmeet to her parents on Saturday after recording a statement before a court in Srinagar. Two days later, in a hushed ceremony attended by the elders of the community, she was reportedly married to a Sikh man, the Quint report said, indirectly suggesting that the Sikh girl was forcefully married off to another person from the Sikh community hurriedly.

Sikh ‘activist’ Amaan Bali busts Quint’s lies on girl’s age, puts out documents

A day after Quint put out misleading claims about girl’s age, Sikh ‘activist’ Amaan Bali, who has been forefront at reporting on the ongoing Sikh girls’ abduction case in Jammu and Kashmir, took to Twitter to accuse the online news portal Quint of propagating misinformation pertaining to the case.

The Sikh activist-cum-writer Amaan Bali posted a series of tweets on the micro-blogging site to accused Quint of deliberately toning down the incident by putting out misinformation about Sikh girl Manmeet Kaur’s age, who was abducted by a Kashmiri man and converted her to Islam after forcefully marrying her.

On Quint’s assertion that the abducted girl Manpreet was 26-years-old, Bali stated that the age of Manmeet Kaur is 18 or 19, as he had confirmed with her family. The protestors maintained that as well, he said.

In a series of tweets, Amaan Bali put out proofs to highlight that the age of Manmeet Kaur was not 26 as suggested by the Quint, but 18. He also said he was withdrawing his earlier statement where he too had agreed that her age is 26. The Sikh ‘activist’ posted several documents, including Aadhar card, entrance exam admission ticket, domicile certificates of Manmeet Kaur to prove that the girl was 18-years-old.

Amaan Bali also alleged that Quint created the entire rumour for Manmeet Kaur in a hurry to deflect the case. However, the present age of Manmeet Kaur is 18 years and 3 months, he said while posting the proof.

Here is the proof of Manpreet Kaur’s age that shows the abducted Sikh girl was just 18 years old:

Manmeet Kaur’s Aadhar card/ Image Source: Amaan Bali

The Domicile Certificate of Manmeet Kaur also shows that her age is 18 years, born in 2003.

Manmeet Kaur’s domicile certificate issued by the Govt. of J&K/ Image Source: Amaan Bali
Manmeet Kaur’s college documents/ Image Source: Amaan Bali

As documents proved that the girl’s age was not 26-years-old, the Quint has silently edited its report to change the girl’s age to 18. However, despite making such a huge error, the Quint has not published any corrigendum in its latest update about the error it had committed.

The Quint’s altered report.

From the above, it is categorically clear that the Quint put out misinformation about Manmeet Kaur’s age to deflect the ongoing case and attempt to portray that Kaur was an adult and consented to the relationship with the Muslim man.

No clarity on the age of accused Muslim man too

In addition to Manmeet’s age, there is also speculation about the accused Muslim man’s age. Earlier, Amaan Bali had put out a tweet saying the girl’s family maintained that the age of the abductor Shahid was 60 years old, while the Quint claimed that he was just 29 years old.

In the latest update, Bali said that he was wrong on Shahid’s age as Kashmir-based news reports have confirmed that the age of the abductor was 29-years-old. Responding to the error, Bali said though he agreed that he was wrong on boy’s age due to multiple statements, he said, one has to explain how a minor was groomed by 29-year-old Muslim man.

The Sikh ‘activist’ also said he would also be taking legal proceedings against the Quint writer Jehangir for peddling misinformation about the age of the abducted Sikh girl.

Quint tries to gaslights the entire Sikh community for standing up against conversions and abductions by Islamists

In its report, which is now edited multiple times, the Quint published the statement of one Danmeet, who ‘willingly’ married a Kashmiri Muslim in 2014, to gaslight the Sikh community for protesting against the abduction and conversion of Manpreet Kaur. Speaking to Quint, Danmeet said she had happily married her batchmate in 2014, and no one from the Muslim community had coerced her to marry a Muslim or convert to Islam, but she did it willingly.

Quoting her, the Quint claimed that Danmeet received threats from the Sikh community, who tried to “brainwash” her into recording a video statement against her “legal husband”. “They warned of getting me killed or targeting me in acid attacks. I am not missing… but my life is under threat. Please stop playing politics over this issue,” Quint quoted Danmeet.

Essentially, the Quint hinted that similar attempts might have happened in Manpreet’s case, who, according to Quint, returned due to intense pressure from the Sikh community.

Amidst the allegations that the family of the girl was not allowed inside the court and were made to sit outside the court citing Covid regulations, the Quint attempted to tone down the allegations by citing a police source, according to whom no provision in the law mandated the parents of the woman to be present before the judge while their daughter was recording the statement.

Quint ignores family statements, cites police to call abductions as ‘rubbish’

A senior police officer was quoted by the Quint, who claimed the “speculation” that the two women were forcibly abducted is “all rubbish”. “There is no evidence to suggest the use of force. What they have done was out of their own will,” the officer said to The Quint.

The Quint spoke to Sikh leader Jagmohan Singh Raina who alleged that the protests held against the abduction were nothing but some “miscreants” are attempting to “disturb the communal harmony” in Kashmir.

“We (Kashmiri Sikhs and Muslims) have shared our joys and sorrows for decades. I am hearing disturbing reports of some Hindu right-wing activists arriving in Kashmir. They want to drive a communal wedge between us, but we won’t allow them to succeed,” Raina was quoted by Quint.

Sikh ‘activist’ slams them for gaslighting Sikh community

As Quint speculated about several things about the case in its report and put out misleading narratives to blame the Sikhs for the entire incident, Sikh ‘activist’ Amaan Bali had earlier taken offence at the far-left website distorting facts of the case. In a rebuttal to the Quint, Bali had put out a series of tweets in which he had put out facts that contradicted claims made by the Quint in its report.

Regarding the police statements quoted by the Quint to claim that allegations of abductions of Manpreet were “baseless”, Amaan Bali said that the Quint nowhere mentioned the statements of the family in both the cases but mentioned the one-sided police statements.

“The police version is not the absolute truth, and we all know what police versions are where stakes are that of things getting out of hand,” Bali said, insinuating that J&K police are issuing misleading statements.

The Sikh ‘activist’ also slammed the Quint for deliberately ignoring to cite the statement of brother Krishanjeet Singh and accused the website of gaslighting the community into believing that there were no forced conversions when all the Sikh organisations have maintained that there were forced conversions.

In his tweet, Amaan Bali also said that the mention of Kashmir’s GPC and Jagmohan Singh Raina was laughable as they are part of the National Conference and added that they are “very same leeches” who issued statements in Chittisinghpora and Mehjoor Nagar killings and hindered the progress of investigations as well.

“Find me a Kashmiri Sikhs who trusts Raina, I will delete this,” tweeted Bali.

Finally, Bali claimed that the Quint report made a huge mistake by failing to highlight how the family of a Muslim men was allowed inside the court while making girls family to stand outside the court during the hearing.

The Sikh girls abduction and conversion case:

On June 26, a case of abduction and religious conversion of two Sikh girls came to light from Jammu & Kashmir. As per reports, an 18-year-old Sikh Girl from Badgam district was lured and converted to Islam. Another case was of a girl from Mehjoor Nagar in Srinagar, who attended the function of her Muslim friend, from where she was reportedly kidnapped and married off to a boy who attended the function. While the girl was not a minor, she is still missing.

The reports of abduction and conversion of two Sikh girls to Islam stirred a massive online furore, with scandalised people demanding action against the culprits. Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) also raised the issue on social media platforms urging the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir to intervene.

According to Sardar Santpal Singh, President Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee-Budgam, who narrated the entire incident, one of the two girls 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.”

Not only this, the family of the girl was not allowed in the court. The family and the relatives of the girl were sitting outside the court as they were barred from attending the court proceedings on account of Covid regulations, however, the court recorded the statements of the Muslim family.

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