Pakistan: India demands ‘immediate remedial action’ but the Sikh girl has not returned

Danish Kaneria, Hindu Pakistani cricketer, match fixing

India taking note of another forced conversion of a Sikh girl in Pakistan, yesterday issued a strong statement asking Pakistan to take swift action in the matter.

“The Ministry has received a number of representations from various quarters of civil society in India, including Sikh religious bodies in India, at the reports of the incident of abduction and forced conversion of a minor Sikh girl in Pakistan. We have shared these concerns with the Government of Pakistan and asked for immediate remedial action.”

The Sikh girl named Jagjit Kaur was kidnapped by a Muslim man and married off after her alleged forced conversion.

Bhagwan Singh, father of Jagjit Kaur is a ”granthi” (priest) at Gurudwara Tambu Sahib and due to his religious ranking is considered a community leader.

The Sikh girl’s family has threatened that they will burn themselves alive today to protest against the forced conversion if their daughter is not returned to them.

This is eerily similar to the Hindu father’s protest that shook the world around Holi. The girls never returned to the family despite swift international condemnation that followed.

Now some Indian newspapers are claiming that the Sikh girl has been returned, but this is untrue and even the Pakistani newspapers have made no such claims. In fact, like in most forced conversion cases, the Pakistani media is like always silent fearing a societal backlash, as these issues are widely perceived as an insult to the Muslim-majority.

Earlier, another Sikh girl named Anarkali was also abducted but her whereabouts remain unknown.

Due to lack of reporting by Pakistani journalists, several times these cases never come to light and due to lack of justice and subsequent persecution that follows, many Pakistani minorities are forced to migrate to India.

India on her part has opened the doors of these persecuted communities but this cannot be a long-term solution as individual migration does not solve the entire problem.

I believe that India on her part needs to evoke an old pact to stop an enforced exodus of the Pakistani Hindus and Sikhs. This coupled with international scrutiny will help provide the much-needed support to these communities.

Meanwhile, comments from Pakistani citizens citing ‘love affair,’ ‘mind your own business’ and even Khalistan can be found aplenty.

Namta Gupta