Islamabad, Pakistan (CHAKRA) – A Punjabi Hindu girl from Pakistan has been kidnapped and is being held in a madrassa where she is being forced to convert to Islam. This has been brought to attention by leading Pakistani activist Ansar Burney.
Burney’s rights organization has learned that 15-year-old, Gajri who is daughter of Meghna Ram was abducted from her home in Katchi Mandi on December 29th 2009 by a nearby Muslim neighbour. This took place in the Liaquatpur in the Rahim Yar Khan District.
According to Burney, Gajri’s parents later found out that she was being held in a madrassa where she has been forcefully married off to someone in addition to being forced to convert to Islam.
The local administrator of the madrassa is refusing to speak to anyone regarding the abduction and Gajri is not being allowed to leave the madrassa resulting in not being able to speak to her parents or family members.
Burney, a former human rights activist openly condemned the forceful act of conversion in addition to the kidnapping. He has demanded her immediate release.
“Pakistan is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which oblige authorities to protect religious minorities under international law,” he said.
After Gajri disappeared on December 21st from southern Punjab, on December 26th the local police station received a letter from the madrassa administrator stating that Gajri had embraced Islam and had married her neighbour Mohammed Salim. However, the letter was not enclosed with a marriage certificate.
The police failed to immediately inform Gajri’s parents of the letter they had received even though her parents had attempted to file a report when she first went missing. The parents were discouraged from filing a report, according to Burney.
After feeling helpless, Gajri’s parent’s went to Ramesh Jay Pal, the vice president of the National Peace Committee For Interfaith Harmony, asking him for his advice on the matter.
With Pal’s help, Gajri’s parents met the priest, Maulana Abdul Hafeez, in charge of Darul-Uloom Madrassa in Khanpur. He told them that their daughter had embraced Islam and that she was not allowed to meet her parents.