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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Forcibly Converted Hindu Women Opt to Stay with Husbands, But Story Remains Murky

Rinkle Kumarib's case has become the focus for Hindus seeking rights in Pakistan.

Rinkle Kumarib's case has become the focus for Hindus seeking rights in Pakistan.

According to The Hindu, three young Hindu women who were kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Muslim men, chose this week to live with their husbands instead of their families, this after the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday allowed them to decide their own future.

The three women, named Rinkle Kumari, Lata and Asha, were told by the court to choose according to their free will whether to go back to their parents’ homes or stay with their husbands, and chose the latter. But their relatives and civil rights activists suggested that injustice had been done to these women, who were, allegedly, coerced into staying with their men.

It has been rumored that the three women had been threatened by Pakistan People’s Party parliamentarian Mian Mithu with “dire consequences” if they decided to return to their parents.

Former federal Minister Amar Lal contended that although Rinkle Kumari and Lata were kept away from both their families and husbands in a shelter, Mian Mithu was able to access them over the phone and threatened to kill their families if they opted to go back to their parents.

Lal quoted Rinkle Kumarib who had told him she no longer had any hope that any government institution would protect her. “Rinkle said she was majboor (compelled) and threatened suicide,” he said, adding that she returned to her spouse to save her relatives.

Civil rights activists fear that the outcome would bolster Mian Mithu, as it appears that Pakistani Hindus have exhausted all their legal options.

On Thursday, protesters belonging to the Hindu and Christian communities in Lahore, gathered outside the Lahore Press Club and shouted slogans such as “Down with mullah-ism!” in response to the slow treatment of the three women’s case, venting anger at “religious fascism, forcible conversion,” and the absence of government support.

Ashok Kumar, a professor of Sindhi language in the Linguistics Department of the Punjab University, told Dawn.com that fear doesn’t begin to describe what is happening to the Hindu community in Pakistan. “We can’t just sit back and watch what our community is going through,” he said.

About the Author: Tibbi Singer is a veteran contributor to publications such as Israel Shelanu and the US supplement of Yedioth, and Jewish Business News.


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