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Karachi: 16-year-old Hindu girl kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam, married by abductor Sameer Ali claiming she is 19

After abducting the girl and converting her to Islam, the Hindu girl was given the new name Hameeda, and was forced to sign an affidavit saying she is 19-years-old and she is marrying her abductor on her free will

On June 13th, a shocking case of abduction of a minor Hindu girl and her forceful marriage to a Muslim youth came to the fore from the Karachi region of Pakistan. The 16-year-old victim was kidnapped by a Muslim identified as Sameer Ali, son of Gul Hassan belonging to Shahdabkot town in Pakistan, and was forcefully converted to Islam.

As per the documents made public on social media by Faraz Pervaiz, a Pakistani Christian activist who is known for highlighting cases of religious persecution against minorities, the girl, Sangeetha was forcibly converted to Islam, and married off to the abductor Muslim youth.

Further, the Hindu girl was given the new name Hameeda after conversion. Although she is 15 years old, her documents were forged by the accused Muslim who made her look 19 years old. The accused in the affidavit submitted before the forceful marriage mentioned that the girl was an adult and that she was freely willing to marry him.

The accused as per Pervaiz, forced the girl to sign an affidavit that read that she was 19, an adult, and that she was marrying Sameer Ali out of love respecting her free will.

“I have not been abducted by anyone to perform this marriage and I am giving this affidavit in my full senses without any force, pressure, or undue influence that I am going to solemnize my marriage with Sameer Ali with my personal decision without any force by anyone,” the affidavit further read.

The affidavit also added that if anyone filed a police complaint against the accused, it would be false as the victim was marrying him ‘with her free will’.

Recently another 14-year-old was kidnapped, converted to Islam in Sindh

This is not the first time a Hindu girl has been kidnapped by a Muslim in Pakistan and forced to convert to Islam. Recently, on 2nd June, a 14-year-old Hindu girl was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam, and married off to a Muslim man in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

The Hindu girl identified as Sohana Sharma Kumari was kidnapped at gunpoint from her home in the Benazirabad district of the southern Sindh province in front of her mother by her tutor and his accomplices.

Her father, Dilip Kumar, filed a police report alleging she was kidnapped. Later, the girl appeared in a video, plainly under pressure, claiming to have converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. Her parents, however, maintained she was underage.

Police retrieved the youngster from a residence in the district five days after she was kidnapped, following much outrage on social media. Sohana was brought to the district court in Larkana last week where she told the judge that she had been abducted and forced to convert to Islam and that she wanted to go with her parents. Notably, the court on June 12 refused to send the girl with her parents.

Another Hindu, Priya Kumari abducted by a Muslim in Dera Murad Jamali, Pakistan

In April this year, massive protests erupted over another Hindu girl named Priya Kumari who was abducted by Muslims in the Dera Murad Jamali town of Pakistan. The girl is still believed to be in captivity. As per the reports, on April 2nd, members of the Hindu community and traders in Dera Murad Jamali took to the streets to condemn the recent abduction of the Hindu girl. They demanded urgent action for her recovery.

The matter has received massive escalation with the Sindhi Foundation, a Washington-based human rights body focusing on the human rights of Sindhis in Pakistan, demanding strict action against the accused persons.

As per the reports, the foundation has planned to organize a long march on the streets of London to commemorate the abduction of Priya Kumari on June 14th. “The long march has been organized in remembrance of the enforced disappearance of a young girl, Priya Kumari who was forcibly abducted in Pakistan three years ago,” the statement read.

The statement further stated that the girl was kidnapped near her home in Sangrar, near Sukkur in Sindh province. “A Hindu girl who was abducted near her home when she was serving water to the thirsty mourners on the day of lamentation in commemoration of Imam Hussain and his companions on the 10th day of Muharram, at her village Sangrar near Sukkur in Sindh province,” it read.

UN recently condemned Pakistan for atrocities against minority women in the country

On 11th April, the United Nations expressed its disappointment with the continued atrocities inflicted upon women from minority communities in Pakistan. A panel of experts from the UN issued a statement in Geneva and slammed the Islamic country for the forced marriages and religious conversions of Christian and Hindu women in Pakistan.

The statement said, “Christian and Hindu girls remain particularly vulnerable to forced religious conversion, abduction, trafficking, child, early and forced marriage, domestic servitude, and sexual violence.”

The statement from the Office of the High Commissioner, United Nations Human Rights, further said, “The exposure of young women and girls belonging to religious minority communities to such heinous human rights violations and the impunity of such crimes can no longer be tolerated or justified.”

The experts mentioned that the “Perpetrators often escape accountability with police dismissing crimes under the guise of ‘love’ marriages”. The UN press release also mentioned that any child, early, or forced marriage cannot be justified in any case. According to international law, any consent remains irrelevant in the case of marriage, provided the victim is a minor (anyone younger than 18 years).

“A woman’s right to choose a spouse and freely enter into marriage is central to her life, dignity, and equality as a human being and must be protected and upheld by law,” it was noted.

In conclusion, the UN called upon Pakistan to ensure that those responsible for such actions are held accountable through legal proceedings, to strengthen the enforcement of existing laws safeguarding against child, early, and forced marriage, as well as the abduction and trafficking of minority girls, and to fulfill the country’s international human rights commitments.

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