Women’s Day and Rinkle Kumari

Published: March 9, 2012

Faryal said that she had converted to Islam and had married Naveed Shah of her own free will, and that nobody had pressurised her into this. PHOTO: SARFARAZ MEMON

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.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Domlurian
    Mar 9, 2012 - 1:12AM

    Appreciate the Editorial.
    But the Hindu Pakistanis are responsible for what has happened to them. They should have migrated en-mass to India or another country in 1947. It is still not too late. We in India welcome our Hindu brothers and sisters from Pakistan, please come over here before you are completely converted. India should give asylum to Hindus who are persecuted abroad, just like Israel welcomes Jews from all over the world.

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  • Racist
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:02AM

    The boy appears dark skinned, likely to be low class convert, while the girl is of quite fair complexion hinting aryan lineage.What a mis match.That’s genetic dilution.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 9, 2012 - 5:27AM

    @Domlurian
    So then they face more doscrimination based on old caste sys is not it man.

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  • Tahir
    Mar 9, 2012 - 6:09AM

    You better sort your own mess first, almost 400 million hindus are living below poverty line and are treated as third class citizens in your ‘Hindustan’. Hindus living in Pakistan are part of our nation they are as good Pakistani as any Muslim. The incident is regrettable and condemnable.

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  • sajid jan
    Mar 9, 2012 - 9:47AM

    Great editorial from express tribune….In tharparkar 60/hindus and this time in very threat…what doing democratic Govt????

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  • R20
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:08AM

    Today Rinkal Kumari stated on open media that she was not forced to be muslim she has converted by her will. where as this editorial is concerned read about some forced to be muslim in 90′s and a claim that around 25 girls are converted to muslim in sindh every month. Please for sake of the god or no-god which ever you believe before publishing think about the facts. How could it be that 25 girls per month be truth? denial is one thing but being rational is other my objection is based upon the rationality of the matter if 25 girls were being converted a month it would have been huge in a country where papers like etribune and people like marvisirmed are always willing to pull islam and show it as a cruel and unjust religion.

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  • Chander
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:48AM

    Be thankful that she was kidnapped for a suicide bombing mission.

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  • vasan
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:51AM

    Ali Tanoli : No They dont. Come to the new India and see it to believe it.
    Tahir : What is that you have done beyond stating regrettable and condemnable, I mean, legally has any one been punished for such forced conversions ?? Stop rubbish like hindus treated like third class citizens or for that matter any one being treated third class citizens. We, in india, are all third class citizens compared to our politicians. But we do not treat religious minorities the way you do.

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  • justice denied
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:09AM

    its nothing but lawlessness
    its like if they do it then it is right and if hindu do it then it is wajubul qatal

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  • Atiq Khan
    Mar 9, 2012 - 12:31PM

    In August 1947, the Hindus were about 20% of total Pakistan Population and today it dropped down to less than 2% (1.84% more accurately). Whereas Muslims were only 2% of India’s population in August 1947 and now it increased to over 20% of India’s total population. Source: Wikipedia. Wow…what a difference in tolerence of society and majority religion of two nations carved out of one country. I think people and mojority religion of pakistan need a massive surgery done to their cotton filled brains.

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  • Atiq Khan
    Mar 9, 2012 - 12:45PM

    Response to R20:: For your information, the number 25 girls/month came from Pakistan Human Rights Data of Year 2010. Go check man. You are just in a dream that Pakistan Minorities are safe especially the Hindus. Its the people like you who remain in dream that such high numbers can not be the reality and encourage such incidents. So fix your knowledge and get a surgery done to your brain.

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  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Mar 9, 2012 - 1:47PM

    Only blind people can not see the truth here.

    She’s a teenager. A teenaged girl, who’s vulnerable in every sense. How difficult is it for a few muslim men to threaten her, terrorize her to parrot their version of the truth.

    Such incidences indicate a bedridden society. Death of such a sick society is imminent. The symptoms are obvious for the world to see. We just need to see how many years are left!

    Also, we Indians must understand that Pakistan’s justice system is rotten to the core. Even Punjabi Sunni Muslims don’t get justice in this system, so a Hindu can forget. May got bestow enough strength to the parents of the girl.

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  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Mar 9, 2012 - 1:49PM

    @Racist

    You are a racist.

    @ET

    Thank you for this courageous editorial. However, in the land of the ‘difa-e-pakistan’, you are a tiny tiny tiny minority.

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  • Mohib Alvi
    Mar 9, 2012 - 1:52PM

    Vasan,
    Yes, you treat minorities very well like looting and burning Muslims in Gujrat at state level.
    Looting, cutting to pieces and burning christians in Orissa.

    Oh yes, Indian Govt took notice and praised Moodi in next elections too.

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  • Mr. Righty rightist
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:29PM

    @Mohib Alvi who writes “Yes, you treat minorities very well like looting and burning Muslims in Gujrat at state level.”

    What did you expect from Hindus, when Muslims burned down a train of Hindus, killing 60 odd men, women and children? As usual, Muslims are the aggressors, whether it’s a muslim majority country like Pakistan or a muslim minority country like India/UK/Thailand/Phillippines/Europe/China.

    This is what makes me laugh when people say Islam is a religion of peace!!! The evidence points to exactly the opposite!

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  • antony
    Mar 9, 2012 - 5:13PM

    @mohib, Too much concerns for christians in india and specially in orissa or just want to score points against someone asking for introspection.. I as a christian living in india can assure you that Indian christians have the same space and priviledge that a muslim or a hindu or sikh gets in India..Dont watch youtube videos just come to India on business visa and see for yourself.

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  • Khan
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:08PM

    @Atiq Khan
    Increase in the number of Muslims in India and decrease in number of Hindus in Pakistan actually shows that the converts to Islam understand its truthfulness. No oppression or force is imposed on the converts.

    Those who blame Pakistanis for forcing converts and tyrannizing Hindu minority should read what Mr. Right rightist has posted.

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  • Mar 9, 2012 - 7:37PM

    This conversion shud be stopped what our pakistani govrnt doing…just learn frm india a gud example of democracy…where religion lived with happiness…its my humble requst frm pak govnt please please please do somethng for hindus :(

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  • kaalchakra
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:49PM

    Islam is a beautiful deen. Non-Muslims should listen to Muslims, read the Quran, and observe the beauty of this very special religion.

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  • antony
    Mar 9, 2012 - 9:21PM

    @kaalchakra, We are seeing the beauty in saudi arabia and very clearly in pakistan by observing the followers of this beauty .Believe me its like a suspense/murder/ novel story every day in pakistani news site.I think you should once listen to non muslims to see from their side.

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  • Cynical
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:34PM

    @kaalchakra

    I agree.

    @antony

    We see what we want to see.If you are looking for dirt, rest assured you will find it.

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  • Mar 9, 2012 - 10:59PM

    What a teenage girl tell after kidnapping, raping, converting, threatening? Even a magistrate is afraid of giving correct judgement. Whether she live peacefully even if she returns to her parents house. If law is equal to everybody it should allow conversions from Islam to other religions also. Recommend

  • Mir Agha
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:38PM

    ET parroting hindutva propoganda. The 15% hindus at the time of independence included hindus in East Pakistan, where the vast majority of the 15% lived. Not to mention population exchanges in the Punjab. Stick to facts to make this tabloid credible.

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  • Babloo
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:07AM

    The census in undivided Punjab, sindh before Partition clearly showed about 20-22% of the population of Western Pakistan was Hindus. The partition riots, followed by systemetic , state sponsored discrimination of minorities have reduced that population to about 1% now.

    Just the city of Delhi in India today, has as many Muslims , as total number of Hindus in Pakistan ! In India the population of minorities have soared. After partition, in 1947-48 number of Muslims in India stood at around 50 million. Today that number stands at 140 million muslims in India. In comparison what happened to Hindus and Sikhs in West Pakistan is an episode unparalled in any part of the world. The numbers tell a very painful tale of human misery and discrimination based on religion.

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  • kaalchakra
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:03AM

    What non-Muslims should note is the response of Islamic women. Had there been any injustice here, any threat or coercion to any teenage girl, do you think Islamic women would have mostly stood by quietly, or many have even gladly ‘welcomed sister Faryal’?Recommend

  • papoo piplia
    Mar 10, 2012 - 6:31AM

    what a biased article? We all know women from interior Sindh are declared kidnapped by their families when in reality they elope to marry of their free will. People against this are Rt wing anti freedom fascists.

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  • papoo piplia
    Mar 10, 2012 - 6:37AM

    and all those hypocrites “cosmetic liberals who are far Rt wing in reality” would leave no stone unturned in defending a 17 year old Muslim girl who marries a Muslim (or any religion) of her own free will and her family declaring her kidnapped (and later a Kari when the kidnapping is proved otherwise).

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  • Desraj Nair
    Mar 10, 2012 - 8:31AM

    What a country; Absolute utter, lawlessness; Such blatant injustice; And the whole Society is complicit; Do you Pakistani Muslims seriously think you can get away with this forever? Shame on You.

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  • Ali Shah
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:20PM

    This typical mullaism of Pakistan “I have accepted Islam at my own”. As a Pakistani and as a Muslim one question to these Mullaas so called Muslim. Why don’t you cure the cancer of terrorism before adding another organ to your your boddy. You are spreading terrorism through bomb and suicide blast in mosques and worship places, don’t you thing you are the main culprit.

    Please leave everyone at their own religion, let them to worship their own God their own way. This is not the Pakistan what Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He was not Mullah, he was not praying 5 times, even he was not praying at all, but he was Muslim.

    The religious politics should be banned in Pakistan, the conversion must be banned, the preach of Islam must be limited to the educated person, who has done PhD in Islamic history and there should be banned on using loud speakers.

    Mullah should be employed under Awaqaf and Awqaf should be administered by libral (with representation of all sects, religion). And the Khutba should be written by this department to control the offensive speeches of these mullas.

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  • Abhi
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:36PM

    I think solution is that, Pakistan should declare everyone as muslim. All Hindus there should convert to Islam. Why to keep dragging and suffering.

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  • Kisan
    Mar 10, 2012 - 8:51PM

    3 Hindu doctors were murdered because a Muslim woman was in love with a Hindu. If a Muslim woman would marry a Hindu then all concerned become wajib ul qatl but of course Hindu woman can be seduced or kidnapped and that is ok.

    Is this a double standard? Of course. Only Muslims have rights, or as Mullah Israr Ahmed put it, yes you can call it second-class citizens (dhimmis).

    This is a modern day apartheid system.

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  • Roshni
    Mar 12, 2012 - 10:53AM

    Every statement of the girl has been dictated and preplanned by her kidnapper and PPP MNA Mian Mitho, she is under the influence of many gun mens of Mian Mitho and she has the threat of her life and also her parent life.How can she tell the truth?

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  • Ali110
    Mar 12, 2012 - 5:33PM

    why is everyone crying when she is saying its her own “FREE WILL”?

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  • Rajesh kumar
    Mar 16, 2012 - 1:04AM

    this is not fair that after kidnapping of hindu girl every wants to become muslim its only process of kidnapp and there is so many accidents with non muslims everyday for example kidnapping of male men after taking money they will free from robber only to force hindus to leave sindh

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  • Saleem
    May 2, 2012 - 12:23AM

    Lahore 1985: (a true story)
    A muslim girl from a middle class family named Seemee was very fond of music. Her parents hired a christian musician to teach her music. The christian teacher came to give her home tuition in music daily. A few months passed. One morning, Seemee was found missing from her house, along with lot of money and jewelry. Her parents were so much worried. In the evening, Seemee called her parents and told them that she had married her christian music teacher on her own free will. And that she had asked him to convert to Islam but he was not willing. Therefore, Seemee had converted to Christianity. .She told her parents not to worry about her and that she would never leave her husband. …….. The poor parents kept quiet. .. Thar girl and her husband became a second class singer couple and were often seen singing in small functions. .. The story of Rinkle Kumari reminded me of that event. I am surprised to see how much importance this simple love story of a hindu girl has attracted. .. While in case of Seemee, no one (not even her parents) went to court or contacted the media. This shows weakness of Muslims in Pakistan

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