SUKKUR: Senate parliamentary committee on minorities’ rights held its meeting at the local circuit house on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar to discuss various issues including ‘forced’ conversion of Hindu women and their controversial marriages.
The committee heard representatives of the minorities and held consultation with them to address the issues.
The minorities’ representatives came from Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana divisions as well as Shaheed Benazirabad district.
Sukkur Commissioner Shafiq Ahmed Mahesar, Deputy Commissioner Rana Adeel Tasawwur and SSPs of Sukkur, Ghotki and Jacobabad also attended the meeting.
Eshwar Lal of the Hindu Panchayat Sukkur and community heads from different towns including Dawarka Das, Shankar Lal, Shewak Ram, Advocate Nand Lal, Gopal Das, Dr Dharampal, Lokchand, Mukhi Ashok Jamar, Srichand aka Lalchand, Dr Suresh Kumar, Harilal, Chaman Lal and other expressed their views before the committee.
Hindu community heads from various cities, towns plead their cases
Their common concern was that Hindu girls were often lured to love and marriages by Muslim youths and were forced to change their religion. They said in most cases, their young female family members were kidnapped to separate them from their families. They argued that the ‘kidnappers’ knew that in this society, a woman became unacceptable for her family once she stayed away from her home even for a single night.
They told the committee that abductors would work on Hindu women in their age of immaturity and their families would come under pressure to compromise with such happenings.
The Hindu community leaders stressed the need for implementing the relevant laws very strictly to ensure protection for their female family members and honour.
They pointed out that the affected families would live a miserable life after such things happened to them.
They pointed out that many such families even migrated to India.
They told the committee that the situation might not improve until culprits of such acts were publicly punished.
Eshwar Lal told the committee that the other issues being faced by the minorities included grabbing of properties. He also pointed out that 70 per cent of the trust-owned property of Sadhu Bela and many temples and shrines, supposed to be managed by the Auqaf department, were in a dilapidated condition. There were many instances where such properties were encroached upon by unscrupulous elements and no action was being taken against them. Minorities’ quota and admission to educational institutions and government departments was also not being implemented, he added.
Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar informed the Hindu delegates that the committee was constituted for holding consultation with the community in Sindh on the single issue of ‘forced conversion and marriages’. He said that for all other issues, a separate committee was being formed and would hear them soon.
Other committee members Ashok Kumar, Kiyal Das Kohistani, Naveed Aamir Jeewa, Kesso Mal, Shaneela Ruth, Dr Darshan Lal and Jay Parkash Lohano, also heard the community leaders’ arguments.
He said that the federal government would enact laws and also ensure effective implementation of the existing laws to the satisfaction of minorities in the light of the consultations and the committee’s recommendations.
Later, speaking to the media, Senator Kakar said that the Senate committee headed by him was formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and it had representation of all political parties.
He noted that a maximum number of complaints regarding alleged forced conversion and marriages came from Sindh.
He said the committee would also hold such a consultation with the officials concerned in Karachi to sort out the matter.
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2020