“Even the highest temporal authority of Sikhs, Akal Takhat has sent a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, seeking implementation of anti conversion law”
After reports of alleged abduction and forcible conversion of two Sikh girls in Kashmir Valley, a demand for anti-conversion law is gaining momentum among members of the micro minority community, who are seeking implementation of law in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, similar to the ones employed in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
According to the reports, 18-year-old Sikh girl, who her parents claimed is mentally unstable, was abducted from Rainawari area of Srinagar and was forcibly entered into Nikah (marriage) with a man of around 55 years of age, who is already married twice and has children.
“The girl was recovered from a village in north Kashmir after parents of the missing girl had reported the matter to the police. The Jammu and Kashmir police had assured that the girl will be returned within 36 hours,” said Manmeet Singh, a close associate of the family.
He stated that the girl was abducted at gunpoint. The Police told the brother of the girl that she will be handed over to the family by the end of the day.
“After couple of days, instead of handing over the girl to the parents, she was brought to the local court along with the family of the old man. The parents of the girl were told that she has been married off to the old man,” said Manmeet, adding that the shocking revelation sent shivers among the Sikh community.
The Court declared the ‘marriage’ valid and handed over the custody of the girl to the family of the old man. The parents of the Sikh girl stated that they were not allowed to enter the courtroom and their voice has not been heard.
“The members of the Sikh community along with parents of the girl were denied permission by the police to enter the court, despite the fact that all the relatives of the old man were allowed to enter the court,” maintained Manmeet Singh, adding that the second girl belongs to Mehjoor Nagar of Srinagar, who attended a function of a Muslim friend, and was later found married to a boy who was also attending the same function. This girl is still missing.
The Sikh community held a strong protest outside the Judicial Court Complex Srinagar, while demanding the custody of the girl, and the parents were allowed to meet the girl at about 10.30 pm.
The videos of the protest went viral on the social media and some Sikh leaders from Kashmir reported the matter to the Sikh bodies including Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).
DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa led a Sikh delegation to Kashmir to ascertain the ground situation and held a gathering with the Sikh community in Kashmir at Gurdwara Shaheed Bunga Sahib in Bhagat, Burzulla, Srinagar.
MS Sirsa addressed the gathering of Sikhs and later, led a protest through the roads of Srinagar, while demanding action against those who allegedly married off the young girl to the elderly man.
“I am at Srinagar joining the protest with the local Sikh community against forced Nikah and conversions of Sikh daughters who are forced to marry elderly of different religions. I urge the Government of India to take stern action against such kind of Nikah happening in the valley”, tweeted MS Sirsa.
“I request local leaders of Srinagar and Mullanas & Muftis to come in support of Sikh daughters. Sikhs were at the forefront ensuring Muslim daughters reach home safely during CAA protests but no Muslim leader has come to raise voice against forced conversions of Sikh girls”, said MS Sirsa in his another tweet.
“The local politicians in J&K should speak up against such practices and take action against such Qazis who are reading out the Nikah of young girls with the elderly men and such people should be socially boycotted”, said MS Sirsa.
Demanding anti-conversion law, MS Sirsa tweeted, “The local Sikh community of Jammu and Kashmir urges @AmitShah Ji to get a strong law implemented in Jammu & Kashmir (Just like Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh) mandating Permission of parents in inter-religion marriages to stop these forced Nikahs of Sikh minority girls.”
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal also tweeted on the issue.
Later in the day, the Sikh delegation along with representatives of local Singh Sabhas led by MS Sirsa held a meeting for about one hour with J&K Lt Gov Manoj Sinha, accompanied by Kashmir divisional commissioner Pandurang K Pole, Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar, Sandeep Choudhary.
While speaking to The Typewriter on the sidelines of the meeting, Sirsa said, “In the meeting, Lt Gov Manoj Sinha assured the community that the girls will be handed back to the family. The officials have assured constituting a minority commission. About anti-conversion law, Lt Gov Sinha Ji said that he will not make a false commitment that the same laws adopted in UP and MP will be implemented in J&K as well. But a law will be implemented that stops the forcible conversion. The local Sikh community and representatives of the Sikh community are satisfied with the assurances given by Sinha Ji.”
He said that it was unfortunate that the district judiciary did not provide justice to the family of the Sikh girl by not allowing the family of the girl to attend the court proceedings.
“The court played a negative role by allowing the family of an old man in the court to put more pressure on the girl,” said Sirsa, adding that this is not an issue of a girl, but an issue of the community.
Even the highest temporal authority of Sikhs, Akal Takhat has sent a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, seeking implementation of anti conversion law.
“I am disappointed to see that members from majority community did not feel pain of Sikhs, despite the fact that Sikhs have supported Muslims always,” said Sirsa, adding that he also met Director General of Police Dilbag Singh, who also assured that safety of the girls would be given utmost priority and stern action would be taken against culprits.
Officiating Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh also wrote to the Lt Gov of J&K, demanding an anti-conversion law like UP and MP.
In the last month, 4 Sikhs have been kidnapped and forcefully converted in the state, and there is a strong outrage among Sikh Community worldwide on such repeated incidents, he wrote.
Supinder Singh, a social activist stated that besides these two cases there are a number of such cases of forcible conversion in Kashmir Valley, wherein girls from Sikh community are allegedly indoctrinated or blackmailed.
“We have seen many Sikh girls being abandoned by the Muslim families after couple of months, thus leaving them of nowhere,” said Singh, adding that this is a purposive conspiracy to forcefully convert Sikh girls to Islam, otherwise there are more than 30, 000 unmarried Muslim girls in Kashmir, who are over-aged.
He also said that anti-conversion law is for the benefit of all communities to maintain communal harmony in Kashmir.
Meanwhile, many Muslim Facebook users condemned the incident and termed it mockery of religion. They maintained that there should be a universal principle, wherein Muslims should marry Muslims only and the same should apply to other religions.