–Teenage sisters tell court they converted to Islam of own free will, demand protection against police action
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday admitted for hearing a petition filed by two Hindu sisters from Ghotki, who were purportedly forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men, and ordered the state to take over the custody of the girls and ensure their protection.
Earlier on Monday, the teenage sisters — Reena, 14, and Raveena, 16, approached the IHC along with their spouses seeking protection after the police arrested nikkah khwan, among others, based on initial reports.
Naming the Ministry of Interior, the Sindh chief minister and the provincial police as respondents, the girls stated in their petition that they were being subjected to negative propaganda on media due to which their lives are under threat.
The teenage sisters said they converted to Islam out of their own free will as they were impressed by its teachings and denied the allegations that they were forced to renounce Hinduism.
The petitioners appealed the high court to direct the government to provide them with protection.
POLICE ARREST MARRIAGE ATTENDEES:
Meanwhile, the police have arrested the attendees and a suspected facilitator of the alleged abduction, forceful conversion to Islam, and marriage of the two minor Hindu girls.
On Sunday night, Ghotki deputy commissioner and Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Farrukh Lanjhar visited their families. He said that some people, including the nikkah khwan and attendees, have been arrested based on initial reports.
More investigation based upon information is underway, he said. Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah met family members of the girls and assured them that the girls would soon be recovered.
According to police, a case for kidnapping had been registered in Daharki Police Station, however, the girls appeared for their marriage on March 22 and claimed to have converted to Islam and tied the knot “of their own will”.
However, the girls’ father and brother, in videos circulating on social media, say that the two sisters were abducted and forced to convert to Islam. In contrast, a separate video of the minor girls is also making rounds on social media, in which they say that they accepted Islam of their own free will.
The issue was also raised by human rights activist Jibran Nasir among others.
PM Imran Khan had earlier taken notice of the “abduction and forced conversion” of two Hindu girls and ordered the Punjab and Sindh government to probe the sisters who were reportedly shifted to Rahim Yar Khan from Ghotki.