The Pakistani parents of three Hindu girls who were kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam claim that powerful people were behind the drama. They said the girls' decision to stay with their Muslim husbands was not taken in an open court and hence questionable. Tahir Ali reports from Islamabad
The family members of the three Hindu girls who were allegedly forced to convert to Islam claim that injustice has been done to them.
Following the Pakistan supreme court's decision that the women should decide their own fate, the registrar's office of the SC announced that the girls preferred living with their husbands rather than with their parents.
The families, however, said that the decision was not taken in an open court and hence questionable.
The supreme court of Pakistan had asked the girls -- Faryal (Rinkle Kumari), Hafsa Bibi (Dr Lata) and Haleema Bibi (Asha Kumari) -- to decide whether they want to live with their Muslim husbands or with their Hindu parents.
Dr Ramesh Kumar, patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, had moved a petition asking for the recovery of the three women belonging to the Hindu community, Rinkle of Mirpur Mathello, Dr Lata, daughter of Jacobabad, and Asha of Larkana.
The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ordered the police to provide adequate security to the women and said that in case of any harm, the police officials would be blamed for negligence. The court said that the women were old enough to make the right decision themselves.
But their family members have complained that they were not allowed to meet their daughters and said the decision should be taken in an open court.
Talking to rediff.com, Nandlal, the father of Rinkle Kumari, said, "Today the girls were produced before the court but we were not allowed to meet them. Even if we were provided with five to 10 minutes of mulaqaat (meeting), it would have been enough for us. Even five minutes would have been enough, but we were not lucky enough to see our girl. We don't know where the girls are now."
Nandlal, who is a school teacher by profession, said all the three girls wanted to go back to their parents but they were not allowed, as powerful people in the government were backing the kidnappers. "When the case was brought to Gotki in Sindh, Rinkle was weeping and said she wanted to go to her parents, yet she was sent to Darul Aman (shelter centre). We were always kept outside the court, whether it was in Sindh or Islamabad. In Gotki the decision was announced at 7.45 am while the official timing of the court starts from 9 am," said Nandlal.
Sulchhani Kumari, Rinkle Kumari's mother, was inconsolable. She said she could not survive without her daughter. "Judgesahib, I need justice; I need my daughter back; I can't leave without her; I can't live without my Rinkle," she told rediff.com.
Showing displeasure over the court's decision. the parents and other family members of the Hindu women observed a sit-in in front of the supreme court building raising slogans, 'We need our girls back', 'Judge sahib we demand justice'.
The family members of young Asha Kumari were also present in court hoping to see her. She was allegedly kidnapped from a beauty parlour. For more than 40 days there was no news of her whereabouts. She later appeared before the court and said she chose to change her religion. However, her family members claimed that she was forcibly converted to Islam.
"Forty-five days have passed since my daughter was abducted. We were hoping to see her but when she was produced in court we were not allowed to see her. She was abducted and the kidnappers first sent us her photos and asked for a ransom, but later it was dubbed as a conversion case. It is purely a case of ransom, and religion has nothing to do with it," Asha Kumari's father told rediff.com.
Sundardas, Asha Kumari's uncle, said that Mian Mittho, a Pakistan Peoples Party parliamentarian who was blamed for helping the kidnappers, was allowed to meet the girls while the parents were kept at a distance.
"Tell me, is he important or the parents? No one is here to listen to us. We ask President Zardari to deliver justice, if he can't do that the minorities should be sent abroad," Asha's uncle told rediff.com.
"The kidnappers are going inside (the court); several of their people are inside, but no one from our side is allowed to get in. We don't know what to do now; I just need my sister, nothing else. We will sit here and block the road till we get justice," said Simran, Asha Kumari's sister.
She feared that her sister would be sent back to her kidnappers. "All these people are working as a unit; we are Hindus so they are treating us like this. We came to Islamabad to get justice but we got nothing," she added.
When rediff.com asked Asha Kumari's mother for her comment on the court's decision , she replied in a choked voice, "I need my daughter; I need justice."
Earlier, the father of Dr Lata, Ramesh Kumar, told the media that religion was being used to kidnap young girls and to satisfy sexual desires. "Only young girls are converted to Islam. If they (abductors) want to spread Islam why don't they convert old Hindu women and men?" he asked.