Women’s Day and Rinkle Kumari

The Sindh High Court Chief Justice, Mushir Alam, has ordered by March 12, the production of 19-year-old Rinkle Kumari, a girl kidnapped from Mirpur Mathelo in Sindh’s Ghotki district. She is said to have been subsequently forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man — or that’s the version of her family members. The judge was outraged by the event and pledged that law would no longer tolerate such crimes.

So far, so good. But the judge will ascertain from the kidnapped girl whether she wanted to be with the Muslim husband or not. That is where the rub is. The parents of the girl have already said that she was abducted by one Naveed Shah who was threatening the family, forcing it to flee from Sindh and take refuge in a gurduwara in Lahore. Those backing the kidnappers are said to be related to Abdul Haq alias Mian Mittho, a member of the National Assembly. A local magistrate has already been pressurised to give a ruling in favour of the abductors and to ignore the written testimony of girl. In fact, the girl, who has now been named Faryal Shah, appeared before the media in Sukkur on March 8 and said that she had not been forced to convert and wanted to live with her husband of her own free will.

What is promising is that President Asif Ali Zardari has directed ‘the authorities’ to investigate the kidnapping and has asked the Sindh government to submit a report on the incident. But those who have seen the phenomenon of Hindu girls’ conversions in Sindh are not very sanguine especially after her most recent appearance before the media. Dozens of people belonging to different minority communities have jointly held a demonstration in front of the Lahore Press Club to protest what has happened to Rinkle Kumari. Here the facts were more clearly revealed: the girl was allegedly kidnapped by the son of a relative of a PPP member of parliament. Also, that girl had then given a statement in the court that “she was not willing to convert to Islam and wanted to live with her parents” which is in complete contradiction to her words now.

The father of the girl, Nand Lal, is a teacher at the Government Primary School in Ghotki. According to him, Mian Aslam, son of MNA Mian Mitthu and his friend Naveed Shah kidnapped his 19-year-old daughter from his house. He is quoted as saying: “Initially, Mirpur Mathelo police station refused to register a case against the culprits, but later, after a protest by the relatives, they lodged an FIR and produced the girl and Naveed Shah before Magistrate Hassan Ali Kalwar. The girl denied that she wanted to convert to Islam and said that she wanted to live with her parents, but the court sent her to Darul Aman and the abductor was handed over to police on a one-day remand.”

President Zardari should do something about the Ghotki magistrate who, according to a report “saw the culprits along with the girl before court time and then straightaway handed over the girl to Mian Mittho’s men without asking the parents to appear before the court”. It is on the basis of this magistrate’s villainy that the feudals are now pressurising the victims. The president should also look closely at the statistics on this Women’s Day. There are approximately three million Hindus in Pakistan. They are a part of Pakistani life and need to be treated with respect and dignity. At the founding of Pakistan, Hindus comprised nearly 15 per cent of the country’s population and are now barely two per cent. Many have left, many have been killed, and many have converted to other religions to protect themselves.

Around 25 Hindu girls are abducted every month and converted to Islam forcibly in Pakistan. Counting other non-Muslims girls, at Shantinagar in Punjab, Christian girls were forcibly converted in the 1990s, then married to Muslims. This kind of dirty business has been going on in the Tharparkar region of Sindh too. Islam disallows conversion of its followers to other religions but welcomes conversion of non-Muslims to its fold. However, what is ignored at the popular level is that Islam bans coercion during conversion.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.


One thought on “Women’s Day and Rinkle Kumari”

  1. It is not true that Islam bans coercion during conversion. Mohammed Bin Qasim, who converted the first people to Islam in Sindh, was described in the Chachnama (written at almost the same time by a muslim) as follows:

    “Mohd bin Qasim first attacked Debal. It was garrisoned by 4000 hindu kshatriyas
    and supported by 3000 brahmans. All males of ages 17 and upwards were put to the
    sword (killed) and their women and children enslaved. 700 beautiful females who
    were seeking protection in the budh (probably meaning buddhist temple) were
    captured with valuable ornaments. Mohd dispatched 1/5th of these to Hajjaj,
    governor of Damascus as per Islamic law. This included 75 damsels. Other 4/5ths
    were distributed among soldiers.

    Thereafter whichever places were
    attacked like Rawar, Sehwan, Dhalila, Multan, etc. hindu soldiers and men were
    slain, the common people fled or had to accept Islam. Some died with their
    religion (ie refused to convert). Many women of the higher class immolated
    themselves (Jauhar) and most others became the prize of the conquerors. These
    women and children were enslaved and converted. Batches of them were sent to the
    Caliph in regular installments. After Rawar was taken, Qasim halted there for 3
    days during which he killed 6000 men. Their followers and women were taken
    captive. Later when the slaves were counted, there were 60,000. Of these, 30
    young ladies were of royal blood. Qasim sent them all to the Hajjaj, who
    forwaded them to Walid the Khalifa. A considerable number of hindus were
    enslaved and deported to Iraq. The entire garrison of Multan was put to sword,
    and families of the chiefs numbering 6000 were enslaved.

    In Sindh,
    females captured after every campaign were converted and married to arab
    soldiers. The instructions given by Hajjaj to Mohd Bin Qasim were “give no
    quarter to the infidels, but to cut their throats, and take the women and
    children as slaves.”

    When the final conquest of Sindh was done, 1/5th of
    all plunder was brought in front of Qasim. These were 20,000 women. Veils were
    put on their faces and they were distributed among the soldiers.”

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