Pak: Abducted Hindu females sent to women`s house

A three-judge bench ordered police officers to escort Rinkle Kumari and Lata Kumai to the Panah women`s shelter.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court on Monday
directed authorities to keep two Hindu women who were
allegedly abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in a
women`s house for three weeks so that they could have time to
decide their future independently and in a free atmosphere.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Chaudhry ordered police officers to escort Rinkle Kumari and
Lata Kumai, who were produced in court, to the Panah women`s
shelter in Karachi.

The bench, in its order, observed that though Rinkle and
Lata had performed `nikaah` and joined their husbands, there
were allegations of forced conversion.

It said there was apparently a lot of pressure on both
women from their parents and courts.

After recording the statements of the women during
in-camera proceedings, the bench came to the conclusion that
they required time, free from pressure, to decide about their

The apex court adjourned the case till April 18.

The bench was hearing a constitutional petition filed by
the Pakistan Hindu Council against the alleged forced
conversion of the women.

Rinkle, who purportedly adopted the name Faryal Bibi,
and Lata, who purportedly assumed the name Hafsa Bibi, had
earlier told lower courts in Karachi that they had converted
voluntarily and married Muslim men.
Both women belong to the southern Sindh province.

Qadir Khan Mandokhail, the counsel for Rinkle’s mother
Sulachana Kumari, said that the apex court had decided to
record the statements of the two women during in-camera
proceedings as the appeared to be confused and under pressure.

Mandokhail said "Rinkle`s mother was allowed into the
court-room and the girl then said she wants to go with her

The bench observed that any nikaah or conversion
involving the two women had possibly not been conducted in a
"free environment", he added.

The Supreme Court has ensured that this issue was not
given a religious colour, as some people were trying to do.

Hindus and Muslims have been living together in Sindh for
ages. During the course of proceedings, the bench admitted
several applications from all parties for hearing.

The Chief Justice told Malik Qamar Afzal and Mujeeb
Pirzada, the counsel for Rinkle`s "husband" Naveed Shah, and
Khalid Ranjha, the counsel for Lata`s "husband" Nadir Baig,
that the women would require time to think over their future.

The Chief Justice opined that the women would be unable
to think freely in a charged atmosphere and pressure from
parents, court and husbands.

Justice Tariq Parvez, a member of the bench, observed
that the issue should not be treated in the backdrop of
religious affiliations as it was a common practice even in
non-Muslim families that girls and boys married without the
consent of their parents.

Raising a query, the Chief Justice further said the
"difficulty" in this case was that they had embraced Islam and
solemnised their `nikaah`.

After the bench recorded the statements of the two women
behind closed doors, lawyers and relatives were allowed to
enter the courtroom.

The atmosphere in the courtroom grew tense when Ramesh
Kumar, the father of Lata, stood up and said in a high-pitched
voice that his daughter wanted to go with him but was being
forcefully held.

When he continued raising his voice, the Chief Justice
asked security personnel to take him out of the courtroom.

The apex court took up the matter after Ramesh, patron-in
chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, filed a petition seeking
the recovery of three Hindu women who were allegedly kidnapped
and forcibly converted.

The third woman, Asha Kumari, is yet to be traced.


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