Pakistani Hindus lose daughters to forced Muslim marriages

LAHORE, Pakistan — Anila Dhawan, 17 , was kidnapped last spring from her home in Hyderabad, forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor. The police refused to intervene. Her kidnapper told them she ran away from home, and converted to Islam and married him voluntarily. But after her family pressured a court to intervene, she told judges the truth and they freed her. “Her life was threatened,” her attorney, Ramesh Gupta, said. “She wanted to go back to her parents and the statement (she made to the court) helped to sway the decision in her favor and she was freed to join her family.” Anila is one of many Pakistani Hindu girls kidnapped because of religious discrimination in a country that is 98% Muslim. Meera Bai, a Pakistani Hindu immigrant in New Delhi, says “Muslims in Pakistan will never treat Hindus as their own.” (Photo: Naila Inayat) Every year, Muslim men abduct and forcibly convert about 1,000 girls — mostly Hindus, according to the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan, a local human rights group. About 5,000 Pakistani Hindus leave every year for neighboring India — where 80% are Hindus — to escape religious persecution, according to the Pakistan Hindu Council. Forcibly converted, Anila Dhawan, who is Hindu, with her father outside the courthouse in Hyderabad after being freed. Legislation banning such conversions for those under age 18 was passed unanimously late last year by the legislature in the southern province of Sindh, where the Kohlis live, but it never […]

Pakistani Hindus lose daughters to forced Muslim marriages

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