New Delhi: India on Friday took up the case of a Pakistani Sikh girl who was kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam and then married to a Muslim man in Lahore. The Ministry of External Affairs asked the Pakistani authorities to take "immediate remedial action" in the incident which has once again shown that minorities are not safe there.
“The Ministry has received a number of representations from various quarters of civil society in India, including Sikh religious bodies in India, at the reports of the incident of abduction and forced conversion of a minor Sikh girl in Pakistan. We have shared these concerns with the Government of Pakistan and asked for immediate remedial action,” the MEA official spokesperson said in response to a query regarding the abduction and forced conversion of a minor Sikh girl in Pakistan.
There have been vociferous protests by Sikh leaders and other concerned citizens in India over the incident. Even a Sikh from Canada, who is currently in Pakistan, has lodged his protest.
The Sikh Sardar Bhushan Singh, from Canada, who is in Pakistan for the Sikh convention by Punjab government has threatened to boycott the conference in protest against the incident of the forced conversion. The conference starts on Saturday.
With authorities yet to take any action, the Sikh girl's family members have threatened to commit suicide by immolating themselves. Her brother on Friday appealed to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa to help and protect them from the criminal gang which allegedly abducted her and forced her to marry a Muslim man. Her brother added that his family was being threatened by the local Muslim gang which had asked them to convert to Islam if they wished to stay alive.
On Thursday, a video had surfaced online showing the forcible conversion of the victim, Jagjit Kaur, and her being renamed as 'Ayesha' in Nankana Sahib area of Lahore. A local maulvi had arranged for the victim's marriage, who was the daughter of a priest in Gurudwara Nankana Sahib, to a Muslim man belonging reportedly to a local gang.
Indian leaders have reacted strongly to the suppression and torture of minorities in Pakistani with Shiromani Akali Dal spokesperson Manjinder Singh Sirsa sharing a video of the family seeking Pakistan PM Khan's intervention in the matter. "The woman who was abducted yesterday is my sister. She was threatened that her brothers and father would be shot if she did not accept Islam," Manmohan Singh, one of the brothers is heard saying in the video.
On Friday, Sirsa took to Twitter to inform that Shiromani Akali Dal spoke to the Ministry of External Affairs regarding abducting and forceful conversion of Jagjit Kaur. The ministry has assured them that the government will raise the issue with the Pakistan government and ensure the girl's safe return.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, too, condemned the forceful conversion of Jagjit Kaur and called upon Imran Khan to take "firm and immediate action against the perpetrators". He had also appealed to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to "strongly take up the issue with his (Pakistani )counterpart at the earliest."