WION New Delhi, Delhi, India
Mar 24, 2019, 08.41 PM
India on Sunday shared its concern regarding the abduction and forcible marriage of Hindu girls and called for suitable remedial action by Pakistan government.
Sources told WION that in an official note to Pakistan Foreign office, India told Islamabad to "protect and promote safety, security and welfare of its own citizens, especially from the minority communities."
The development comes after India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj asking Indian high commissioner in Pakistan on Twitter to send a report on the abduction of Hindu girls drawing an angry response from Pakistan's information minister Fawad Chaudhry.
Swaraj responded to Chaudhry's response by saying, "I only asked for a report from 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."
Mr.Minister @fawadchaudhry - I only asked for a report from 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. @IndiainPakistan
According to the Pakistan Information Minister, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked chief ministers of Sindh and Punjab that girls should immediately be recovered.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hindu Council has called for strict action against clerics Miyan Mithu Barchundi, Pir Ayub Jaan Sirhindi who the minorities in the Sindh region accuse of abducting the girls. The committee is headed by Ramesh Vankhwani, member of National Assembly member, and a Hindu.
The Sarhandi shrine in Samaro in Umerkot and Barchundi Sharif in Sindh's Mirpurkhas District are active in religious conversions of Hindus and claimed to have converted thousands of Hindu girls and young women to Islam.
New Delhi's strong stance will irk Pakistan that has been raising the issue of minorities in India for months now.
On December 25, 2018, the birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted, "Naya Pakistan is Quaid’s Pakistan and will ensure that our minorities are treated as equal citizens, unlike what is happening in India"
Statistics in recent years have revealed that Sindh in southern Pakistan has a higher percentage of Hindus than the rest of Pakistan. Its three districts - Mirpurkhas (with 33% Hindu population), Tharparkar (with 36% Hindu population) and Umerkot (with 49% Hindu population) contribute to the significant Hindu community in the country. But these are the districts were most forced conversion & marriages of underage Hindu girls in Pakistan have been reported.
In the past also India has strongly taken up the matter of situation of minorities in Pakistan. These cases include the abduction of two 16-year-old Hindu girls in January 2019, forceful conversation of another 16-year-old in June 2017 and kidnapping of a 17-year-old Sikh girl who was married off to a local in Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
New Delhi has taken up cases of intimidation of Sikhs, Hindus, as also the desecration of their places of worship, with the Pakistan government in February 2019, June 2018 and December 2017.
Sources told WION, India called on Pak govt to "protect and promote safety, security and welfare of its own citizens, especially from the minority communities."