Press Trust of India

JK conversion row: One of 4 Sikh women had approached HC for protection

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Srinagar: One of the four Sikh women alleged to have been converted to Islam by force had approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking protection from any coercive action by her family and the police, saying she changed her religion and married a Muslim man willingly.
Viran Pal Lour, who became Khadeeja after marrying Manzoor Ahmad Bhat on January 20 this year as per Islamic rituals, had approached the High Court in May this year.
In an order passed on May 20, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey had directed the police to ensure the woman’s parents — Rattan Singh and Popinder Kour — or anyone else at their behest does not harass, attack, kidnap or harm the couple.
” and they shall be allowed to live their married life the way they like and protect their rights in terms of the guarantee as enshrined by the Constitution of India,” the order said.
The woman (26) and her husband (31), who declared their marriage before the public notary in Budgam district court in February, had told the court that they were living like nomads as her parents had lodged a complaint at Satwari Police Station in Jammu against Manzoor.
The court had directed Satwari SHO not to take any coercive action based on the complaint. It had also asked the Budgam police chief to ensure the implementation of the directions in letter and spirit.
Sikhs in Kashmir, supported by community members from Delhi, have held protests against such interfaith marriages and alleged that Sikh women were being forcibly married off to older men.
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder S Sirsa, who also arrived here on Sunday for the protest, has said they have taken up the issue with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“We have been protesting for two days. Four girls have been forcibly converted including an 18-year-old who was married to a middle-aged man and it was said she was married according to her own will,” Sirsa had said on Monday.
Asked if the 18-year-old woman was already married to a Muslim man following her alleged conversion, he said no marriage had taken place.
He appealed to people to maintain the age-old communal harmony in Kashmir.
“We do not want any (anti-conversion) law. The majority community has to take care of the minority community,” he added.
Singh said the Sikh community wanted to set up a major hospital in Kashmir on a plot owned by Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.
“We have around 81 kanals of land (8.125 acres). A part of it is under occupation of the tillers. We want to pay them due compensation and take back the land for establishing a big hospital for people here,” he added.
SAD leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa had alleged on Monday that four Sikh women were forcibly married and converted to Islam in Kashmir recently and demanded that they be returned to their families.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Sikhs met Union minister G Kishan Reddy and apprised him about the alleged forced conversion and marriage of girls from the community.
The delegation, including Delhi’s BJP leader R P Singh, submitted a memorandum to Reddy who assured them that necessary action will be taken.
“The delegation submitted a memorandum about the alleged forced conversion and wedding of Sikh girls in Kashmir. I will discuss the matter with the Union Home Minister (Amit Shah) about the action that is required to be taken,” said Reddy, the Union Minister of State for Home.
Delhi president of the SAD, Paramjit Singh, told reporters in Srinagar on Tuesday that one of the women, who was restored to her family from her alleged kidnapper amid allegations of forced conversion, was married off to a man from the Sikh community.
“The girl was married to Sukhbir Singh today. They knew each other and there was no coercion or force used (against the girl),” Paramjit Singh told reporters.
He thanked all the people who made the marriage possible.
Asked if the 18-year-old woman was already married to a Muslim man following her alleged conversion, he said no marriage had taken place.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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