Recovered Hindu teacher complains of pressure for conversion

Forced conversion of Hindu girls on the rise: Pak Hindu Council

PHCMEENA MENON | THE HINDU | ISLAMABAD |  JANUARY 7, 2014::  The head of the Pakistan Hindu Council Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Member National Assembly has condemned the rise in kidnapping of Hindu girls, forced conversion and marriage.

Talking to the media outside Parliament House on Tuesday he referred to the recent kidnapping of a Hindu woman, Lucky Bhel from Sindh who was reportedly forced to marry a follower of a local religious leader.

“Another Hindu teacher, Sapna Rani, from Peshawar was recovered after 15 days with the active support of media and civil society,” he said.

Dr. Ramesh Kumar said that the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had promised minorities their rights and the Constitution of Pakistan also guaranteed their protection. He pledged support for the victims’ families and said he would raise the issue on every available forum including Parliament and take up the grievances of the Hindu community.

Earlier this year, the Sindh Government had set up a three member committee to examine a law to stop forced marriages of Hindu girls.

Activists in Karachi have said there are 20 such cases every month and last year the case of Rinkle Kumari went right upto the Supreme Court which allowed her and two other girls to decide their future. [Courtesy: The Hindu]

Recovered Hindu teacher complains of pressure for conversion

WASEEM AHMAD SHAH | PESHAWAR |  JANUARY 7, 2014:: A missing Hindu female schoolteacher told a local judicial magistrate on Monday after recovery from Bahawalpur that her kidnapper had forced her to marry him after changing her faith and kept her unconscious for most of the time during captivity on refusal.

Magistrate Mohammad Fayyaz Khan ordered the local police to conduct medical examination of teacher Sapna Rani and produce its report.

Swapna Rani

The teacher, who is around 25, was recovered from Khairpur tehsil of Bahawalpur late on Saturday after investigation officer of the case Shaheenullah Khan traced her location with the help of her cellphone and that of her alleged captor, Zahid Nawaz, a resident of Bahawalpur.

The accused managed to flee.

Investigation Officer Shaheenullah Khan produced the girl before the judicial magistrate to record statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Ms Sapna had gone missing on Dec 21 while returning home from school in the jurisdiction of Paharipura police station. Police had registered a complaint lodged by Suresh Kumar, stated to be the teacher’s cousin.

Ms Sapna is a teacher at a private school, Peshawar Science Academy, situated on the GT Road near Ayub Flour Mills.

The kidnapping had created unrest among the local Hindu community and its leaders had appealed to the government to take notice of the incident and recover the teacher.

The investigation officer said the teacher had recorded almost similar statements with him and the magistrate.

Ms Sapna told the court that when she was returning home on the day of kidnapping, a car stopped near her and the accused person put a cloth dosed with intoxicant on her face causing her to fall unconscious.

She said she gained consciousness after a day and saw a man later identified as Zahid Nawaz present in the room.

The teacher said whenever she gained consciousness, the kidnapper used to put forward the same demand of marrying him after conversion to Islam.

She said on her refusal, the man often put intoxicant-dosed cloth to her nose.

The woman said as she remained unconscious most of the time, she was not sure whether she was sexually assaulted by the suspect or not.

The court ordered to conduct her medical examination.

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