New Delhi: After a shocking incident in which two minor Hindu girls were kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to their captors in Pakistan’s Sindh province, a concerned India on Sunday sent an official note to the Pakistan government asking it to take remedial measures to ensure the safety of minorities, even as a war of words broke out between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhary over the issue.
Official sources said India issued a note verbale — a diplomatic communication — to Pakistan, sharing its concerns over the incident on Holi eve and called for suitable remedial action to protect and promote safety, security and welfare of people from the minority communities in Pakistan. It may be recalled that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been lecturing New Delhi lately on treatment of minorities in India. The shocking incident comes as a severe embarrassment to Pakistan. Mr Khan has already ordered a probe into the two girl’s abduction.
In a tweet, Ms Swaraj said she has sought a report from Indian envoy in Pakistan Ajay Bisaria on the incident. As Ms Swaraj, in a tweet, sought a report from Mr Bisaria, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhary tweeted, “Maam its Pakistan’s internal issue and (be) rest assured it’s not Modi’s India where minorities are subjugated, it’s Imran Khan’s Naya Pak where white colour of our flag is equally dearer to us.”
“I hope you’ll act with same diligence when it comes to rights of Indian minorities,” he said.
Ms Swaraj, in her response to Mr Chaudhary, said she had only asked for a report from the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad about the kidnapping and forced conversion of two minor Hindu girls to Islam.
“This was enough to make you jittery. This only shows your guilty conscience,” she said.
According to Pakistani media reports, Reena and Raveena, hailing from village Hafiz Salman near the town of Daharki in Sindh, were kidnapped and forced to convert from Hinduism to Islam on March 20, before being married to Muslim men.
The two girls were allegedly kidnapped by a group of “influential” men from their home on the eve of Holi.
Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown solemnising the nikah (marriage) of the two girls.
In a separate video, the minor girls can be seen saying that they accepted Islam of their own free will.
According to media reports, the Hindu community in the area staged protests, demanding action against perpetrators of the alleged crime.
In a Twitter post in Urdu, Mr Chaudhary said the Prime Minister has asked the Sindh chief minister to look into reports that the girls in question have been taken to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab.
India has been raising the issue of plight of minorities, particularly the Hindu community in Pakistan.
In January this year, Anusha Kumari, a 16-year-old Hindu girl, was apparently abducted and forcefully married to a Muslim man in Pakistan and it is learnt that the Indian high commission has taken up this case with Pakistan as well.