The alleged abduction and conversion of a Sikh girl and her marriage to a Muslim man in Pakistan has taken a new twist with a top official of the Sikh community organisation clarifying on Friday that she is yet to be reunited with her family.
The Secretary General of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhik Committee’s (PSGPC) Ameer Singh told PTI that Jagjit Kaur is in Lahore’s Darul Amaan (shelter home) and she has not been sent back to her parents’ home as yet.
“We don’t know who posted this tweet and who is running it,” he said, referring to a post on the PSGPC ‘s official Twitter handle that Kaur has returned home .
“I am the Secretary General of the PSGPC and we have not issued any such statement on Twitter,” Singh said.
Kaur was allegedly abducted by Mohammad Hasaan of her locality in Nankana Sahib, some 80kms from Lahore, last week and married her.
A video of the girl’s family had gone viral on social media in which one of her family members had alleged that a group of men attacked their house and she was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam, triggering concerns in Pakistan as well as in India.
India said it has raised with Pakistan the issue of her abduction and forced conversion to Islam and sought for “immediate remedial action”.
In response to a media query regarding the incident last week, the ministry has received a number of representations from various quarters of civil society in India, including Sikh religious bodies regarding the case.
“We have shared these concerns with the government of Pakistan and asked for immediate remedial action,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Hasaan has divorced Kaur, thus paving the way for her return to her home.
But a source in the Governor’s House told PTI that as Hassan’s family was under extreme pressure from police and the government officials he divorced Kaur so that she could be sent back to her parents.
“Police had taken 10 or so relatives and friends into custody to put pressure on Hassan to divorce her… and finally Hassan gave into pressure,” the source said.
Nadeem Sarwar, a counsel for Hassan, told PTI that there has been “extreme pressure” on his client to divorce Kaur but he is still resisting.
“Kaur on the other hand has not yet filed an application in the court to express her wish to go back to her parents’ house,” Sarwar said.
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar who has engaged both families claimed that the matter has been resolved amicably. The government is facing strong reaction from the Sikh community that is not ready to accept this marriage.
“Ahead of opening of Kartarpur corridor in connection with 550 birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the Pakistani government cannot afford annoyance of local Sikhs over this issue that created tension among the Sikhs and Muslims in Nankana Sahib,” the official said.
On Monday, police did not present Kaur before a special judicial magistrate citing security reasons. On this, the magistrate adjourned the proceedings and directed the police to produce her after September 10.
According to sources, there were intelligence reports that the girl might be hurt during the court appearance by her relatives.
The Lahore High Court on Monday granted protective bail to the suspect, Hassaan till September 7 with direction to approach the relevant court in district Nankana Sahib for the relief of pre-arrest bail.
Hassan’s counsel told the Lahore High Court that the FIR against him and others was lodged by the girl’s family under pressure as she contracted marriage with him (Hassan) with her own free will.
“Kaur embraced Islam without any coercion and was given Muslim name Ayesha before nikhah (marriage) of the couple was solemnized. She has already recorded her statement before a judicial magistrate concerned denying the charges of abduction and forced conversion to Islam,” he said.
An FIR was filed with the Nankana Police Station on Thursday last against six people for abducting and forcibly converting Kaur, daughter of a Sikh (Granthi) priest to Islam. The police arrested Arsalan, a friend of Hassan.
Earlier, Governor Sarwar met with Kaur at the shelter home and tried to persuade her to return her parents’ home but she declined. She told the governor that she loved Hassan and married him with her own free will. She said she feared for her life if she returned to her parents’ home.