Lahore: Rwadari Tehreek RT in association with Human Rights Concern Network, Aurat Foundation, Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, Hindu Sudhar Sabha and several other civil society organizations held a Protest Camp on March 30th 2019 in front of Punjab Assembly to condemn the frequent happenings of kidnapping, forced conversions and forced marriages of women and girls belonging to Hindu, Christian and other minority communities and demanded to enact law to stop forced conversions and to stop the elements involved in the forced conversions.
The observers belonging to different faiths, religions and walks of life gathered at the Protest Camp and chanted slogans against those convoluted in organized business of forced conversions such as Mian Mithu, the Peer of Barchundi Sharif at District Ghotki and Pir Ayub Jan Sarhandi of Sarhandi Shrine at district Umerkot- Sindh and demanded their instant arrest.
Speaking to the Protestors Mr. Samson Salamat, Chairman Rwadari Tehreek strongly condemned the forced conversions and the underage marriages of Hindu and Christian Girls and expressed unity with their families who are wandering here and there for justice.
Mr. Samson Salamat said that “this depressing trend of forced conversions has left the citizens belonging to minority communities into misery, pain and a situation of terror and insecurity” which is breech of International Human Rights Standards and Norms and the Constitution of Pakistan, which guarantees religious freedom as a right to every human being without any discrimination”.
It was demanded by Mr. Samson Salamat that “effective and comprehensive legislation should be passed immediately to curb forced conversion and underage marriages. Besides rogue elements involved in forced conversions in Sindh should be apprehended and justice should be done”.
The well-known human rights activist Saeeda Diep and Chairperson of Institute for Peace and Studies said that “conversions to Islam in suspicious conditions is a matter of grave concern and is rightfully sparking fear and anger among the minority communities who are already victim of religious discrimination and persecution through many other ways. Forcibly converting anyone is a criminal offence and therefore those who involved in the forced conversion should no more be free and should be put behind the bars.”
The Chairperson of Human Concern Network Mr. Tariq Siraj advised to speed up the process of legislation to stop forced conversions along with an effective implementation mechanism. Mr. Tariq Siraj also demanded civil society to launch awareness campaigns to discourage forced conversions and under age marriages.
The Director CTS Ms. Kathrine Sapna Karamat uttered solidarity with the parents whose daughters were kidnapped, converted and forcibly married. She said that “a lot of people in Pakistan unfortunately do not consider forced conversion as a human rights violation and as a result the incidents of forced conversions are increasing day by day which has added to the sufferings of religions minority communities. But now enough is enough and this should be stopped.”
The President of Human Friends Organization Mr. Sajid Christopher commended the government to turn its attention towards the woes and cries of the parents whose daughters were kidnapped and forcibly converted, otherwise the chain of protests may spread all over the country. Mr. Sajid Christopher added that “We will not be silent anymore and widen our struggle until we are being heard and therefore we call upon the attention of Imran Khan’s Government on this burning issue.”