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Hindu girls abducted in Pakistan: Islamabad High Court orders state to ensure their protection

File photo of Islamabad High Court. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 26, 2019, 12.35 PM (IST)

The Islamabad High Court has ordered the state to take into custody the two Hindu sisters allegedly abducted, converted to Islam and married to Muslim men, Pakistan's Geo News reported Tuesday. 

The two girls, who are 13 and 15, were allegedly kidnapped from their home in Sindh's Ghotki district by a group of "influential" men on March 20, a day before Holi.  

A video of a priest purportedly solemnising the marriage of the two girls went viral soon after, triggering a nationwide outrage. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered a probe.

Geo TV reported earlier that the two sisters had approached a court in Bahawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province seeking protection. 

The news agency ANI reported on Tuesday that police have detained at least seven people, including a nikah khwan (marriage officiator), allegedly involved in the abduction, forced conversion, and marriage of the two sisters. 

Sushma Swaraj, India's External Affairs Minister, demanded on Tuesday that the girls be returned immediately to their families. 

"Justice demands that both these girls should be restored to their family immediately," Swaraj said on Twitter. 

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On Sunday, New Delhi had sent a note verbale to Pakistan's Foreign Office stating its concerns over the abduction of the two girls. 

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The court also ordered the state to take the girls into its custody. The two minor sisters were allegedly abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married to Muslim men.