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Imran Khan's effigy burnt, protests erupt in Punjab over Sikh girl's abduction and forceful conversion case

Activists of Bajrang Dal Hindustan on Sunday set fire to the effigy of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Amritsar and called for solidarity between Hindu and Sikhs to protest against the continued lack of action by the Pakistani government on the abduction of the Sikh girl, who was forcibly converted and then married to a Muslim man, in Lahore.

Imran Khan's effigy burnt, protests erupt in Punjab over Sikh girl's abduction and forceful conversion case

Chandigarh: Activists of Bajrang Dal Hindustan on Sunday set fire to the effigy of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Amritsar and called for solidarity between Hindu and Sikhs to protest against the continued lack of action by the Pakistani government on the abduction of the Sikh girl, who was forcibly converted and then married to a Muslim man, in Lahore.

Various Sikh fronts across Punjab have come out in support of the 17-year-old Jagjit Kaur, daughter of a priest in Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and demanded her safe return and justice. Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh who died in Lahore after brutal attack on him in Pakistan's Kalapet by other prisoners in 2013, lashed out at Imran Khan, chief of Pakistan Sikh Sabha Gopal Singh Chawla, and pro-Khalistani outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) member Gurpatwant Singh Pannu for their silence on the issue. 

Saying that she will hold protests in Sirsa and Ludhiana, Dalbir appealed to people to join the protest and not rest until Jagjit Kaur gets justice.

All India Sikh Students Federation wrote an open letter to Pakistan PM asking for clarifications on the steps taken up by the Pakistani government to resolve the issue. Claiming that  "such type of incidents gives a feeling that minorities are slaves in Pakistan, the federation said that it "would not tolerate any such atrocities on minorities in Pakistan."

The Sikh student organisation asserted that Pakistan government should take strict steps to like "death penalty to the culprits so that no one dares to repeat such act in future" said that it will write a letter to the United Nations (UN) to send a fact-finding team to Pakistan and investigate the issue.

Similarly, Balwant Singh Gopala, president of Sikh Youth Federation Bhinderwale has strongly criticised the crime of abduction of  Jagjit kaur and has asked Imran Khan to recall the history of sikhs as being a "martial kaum". Suggesting that the silence of Pakistani Sikh leaders on the matter was a great disrespect to entire Punjab, Gopala said that even if they had to cross the border to safeguard Sikh daughters, they will not hesitate to do so.

On Saturday, the Punjab Border Kisan Welfare Society also burnt an effigy of Pakistan PM to protest the abduction of Jagjit Kaur. Outfits like Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Rashtriya Gauraksha Sena, All India Sikh Student Federation, Bhooma faction, Border Kisan Welfare Society, Shiv Sena, All India Hindu Sangharsh committee, and Punjabi Naujawan Sabha reportedly protested outside the Pakistan High Commission (PHC), Delhi on Sunday afternoon.

Jagjit Kaur was kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man in Nankana Sahib area of Lahore. She was found after a video surfaced showing her forcible conversion and being renamed as 'Ayesha'. The victim's family immediately sought Pakistan PM's intervention in the matter and reached out to the international Sikh community.

Earlier on Saturday, the family of the abducted girl refuted the claims made by the Pakistani government and said that she had not returned to them yet. They further refuted all claims of eight persons being arrested in the case and sought the help of the country's PM Imran Khan and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

 

(With inputs from Sidhant Sibal and Manish Shukla)