Conversion row: Pak Hindu girl in protective custody

A Pakistani court on Monday directed police to take into protective custody a 19-year-old Hindu girl.

Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Monday directed police to take into protective custody a 19-year-old Hindu girl and her Muslim husband, amid allegations that she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam.

Justice Shahid Anwar Bajwa of the Sindh High Court, who was hearing the case of Rinkle Kumari, ordered police to take the couple into protective custody till March 26.

Rinkle`s relatives have said that she was kidnapped and forcibly converted before being married off to Naveed Shah. They have asked authorities to allow the girl to go back to her family.

However, Rinkle told the media in Karachi yesterday that she converted of her own free will and adopted the name Syeda Faryal Bibi before marrying Shah.

The High Court had summoned the couple along with their lawyer.

Some members of Rinkle`s family too were present in the court during the hearing.

The judge considered the possibility of sending Rinkle to the Darul Aman, a state-run women`s home, but finally directed police to take the couple into custody and to provide security to them.

A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had on March 8 directed authorities to produce three Hindu girls who were allegedly kidnapped, including Rinkle, in court on March 26.

During a news conference at the Karachi Press Club yesterday, a visibly shaken Rinkle said: "My name is Syeda Faryal Bibi. I have embraced Islam without any force and have married Syed Naveed Shah of my own free will."

Two bearded men, who said they were from Dargah
Bharchundi Sharif, kept passing notes to Rinkle during the
news conference.

The girl could not respond to questions asked by
journalists and kept insisting that she converted without any
force and married of her own choice.

Rinkle was allegedly kidnapped from Mirpur Mathelo in
Ghotki district of Sindh province. Her family fled the area
after receiving threats and her relatives are currently
staying at a gurdwara in Lahore.