Friday, October 10, 2014

Dear State! Hindu Marriage and Forced Conversion Bills need your attention…!


I cannot forget the words of “Rinkle Kumari’s mother please save my daughter! I beg you that give my daughter back and I want nothing else except my daughter” at Sindh High Court and I felt helpless so I couldn’t even say anything but staring into her tearful eyes, still ask the question that where is her daughter, not only Rinkle’s mother but many mothers whose daughter have been kidnapped and they ask same question which Rinkle’s mother still asks.

It was not only Rinkle Kumari or Asha Kumari who had been kidnapped in the name of religion, there are various people who can tell us that how many girls have been kidnapped and how thugs enjoy their crime with apparent impunity because our system has no sufficient law that can punish criminal them who are using the name of religion.

You can close your eyes to problems but you are unable to vanish it, unless you open your eyes seeking the causes of problems. Unfortunately in our country from leaders to rich class both want to put their hands on their eyes and keep singing the song that All is well.
If we peep into our society, can see that all is not well at all especially in the cases of Non-Muslims, Ahmedis, Sikhs, Christians and Hindus all are living under a shadow of fear. Ahmedis have a fear of that from which side unknown person will appear and declare them as Non-Muslim, later he/she may be killed in the name of declaration of Non-Muslim by a Muslim.

The Sufi land is undergoing the walk of those souls who have not listened to a song of Sufi/Baghti-ism.

What can state do to protect Non-Muslims? Let me ask, why does state not protect its own single clause of Human rights? 
All citizens are equal and simultaneously are deemed to be secured under the umbrella of Human Rights, if state is going to fail in protecting its own law of Human rights that means the sense of security among people is being injured.

Each government claims to be protector of the rights of Non-Muslims, personally I disagree a word “Minority” how can you call a person as a minority whose roots are anchored in the land? State has declared them as minority because their religion is not of the majority!

When will we start living peacefully? When I see or read news that indigenous people (Sindhi Hindus) of this land are being killed and their daughters are kidnapped. Where are we going to? Sometimes we cannot recognize that path that leads us into a dark cave but when we reach to the dark cave, we will realize that it was not a path which we had thought of.

So far, our country has problem of violation of human rights. I don’t want to go to past stories when Hindu girls were kidnapped and converted to Islam, it doesn’t mean that these cases have been stopped; such cases and problems still awfully exist.

After such kind of issues, political leaders realize that now we should have Laws, we can at least stop the problems.

PPP government announced that they were going to introduce law of Safe Houses which could solve the problem of Hindu girls’ kidnapping. What happened that PPP could not present the Hindu Marriage and Forced Conversion Bill; however, a committee was formed of Rana Baghwandas, Dr. Majida Rizivi, Minister Dr. Khatoomal, Jhut Mal and others in July 2013.  At that time I did contact to Dr. Khatoomal and asked him, “Would you believe your government could present a law on Hindu Marriage Bill and Forced Conversion? He responded confidently that they would make a law and present in Sindh Assembly. That was an important because Safe Houses could play its main role to stop a forced conversion. Courts could not do anything in the cases of forced conversion but if they made a law which could solve the case of conversion. “We are committed and will present a Bill. Don’t forget that Justice (r) Rana Bhagwandas and Majida Rizivi were in committee” said Dr. Khatoomal minister of PPP – Sindh.”

Very strange that we are in 2014 but where is the Bill? Which was to be presented            by Sindh government on Hindu Marriage and Forced Conversion Bill?

After Sindh Government, we are hearing a voice from PML-N (MNA) Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani who presented a draft on Hindu Marriage Bill but his bill has been invisible.

When I phoned “Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani regarding his Hindu Marriage Bill, he told me that “what are you asking me? I am struggling and trying to pass this Bill but no one is serious regarding that Bill. Do you know this would be a first time in the history of Pakistan, we will make a law for Hindu Marriage Bill and our people can get a right of getting their marriage registered even divorce process would be easy because in our religion to get divorce is too difficult.” I asked him another question that according to your Bill, it does not speak of Forced Conversion. 

Why? Dr. Ramesh said that “they cannot pass our simple Hindu Marriage Bill; yes I agreed with you on that I have not mentioned distinctly regarding forced conversion in Bill because if I had mentioned that cause, Bill would not have been allowed even to present it as the way I have present it now. Nevertheless, I have mentioned an age limitation that can help us to stop forced conversion.”

Would it be possible for Islamic Ideology Council to accept your clause of an age limitation, if any girl is kidnapped and converted to Islam because religious groups follow their law of Islam then how will they listen to your bill? Asked him. He said, “I discussed the matter with IIC and they agreed that forcibly conversion is not allowed. I am still helpless that we cannot even pass a simple law regarding Hindu Marriage Bill.”

Simple Hindu Marriage Bill is not yet passed by National Assembly and Sindh Government has also forgotten its committee on Hindu Marriage Bill in an attempt to stop forced conversion.

I would share comments of Jai Parkash Moorani, who said “nowadays people do not send their daughters to schools because they are still afraid of forced conversion that is reason they get them married in their underage.” So, where is the implementation of Child Marriage Bill?” 

He further said on Hindu Marriage Act that “current situation is very critical; we do not need piece of paper called an agreement which grantees marriage relation, due to present bad situation in our society where your wife is kidnapped and person cannot provide any evidence for his own wife and girl’s property right in her father’s property which is also important issue that’s reason we support and need a Hindu Marriage Bill.”

Mr. Parkash totally disagreed on the question of divorce when I asked him that how do you see a matter of divorce, don’t you think that as a human each person has right to live and choose not to live? “Human Rights are best things but when you make Hindu Law then you will have to be obliged to follow religion as Hindu religion has no place of Divorce even same issue exists in Christianity, where getting divorce is difficult. Otherwise, we should make a unanimous Marriage Act which is applicable to everyone in Pakistan.”

I would share with you that Mr. P.K Shahni drafted Hindu Marriage Bill was presented in era of Shaheed Zulifkar Ali Bhutto and Hindu Marriage Bill’s draft was taken from Indian Marriage Act, not a single word change even Dr. Ramesh has lately presented Bill it is same which had been already presented but Rana Chandr Singh expunged section of divorce and said that unless “I am alive this law will not be passed” and he proved his words that unless he was alive, Hindu Bill could not be passed in Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Era.

When I asked Mr. Parkash that Dr. Ramesh’s Hindu Marriage Bill is not openly criticizing a forced conversion, Bill has mentioned only age limitation. Do you think that age limitation can helpful to stop forced conversion? Mr. Parkash said, “No it will not stop forced conversion and to be honestly, IIC will never accept any line which goes against its fanatic thoughts.”

Then, I did contact with his wife Mrs. Nirmela Parkash, who was fully supporting Marriage Act, she said that “our girls have been kidnapped and we cannot still provide any evidence of their marriages.” 
She shared one of incidents, “I could not recall the names that once the rich man kidnapped Hindu lady and when her husband filed case and claimed at court that she is a married but when court asked him for furnishing evidences, he could not provide. 

Therefore, we feel that now we should have legal documentation-right it is very imperative to us; we must have a legal document.” She also said about Property Section, being a wife and a mother I feel my daughter that what will be her future, if she gets married? We have right of property. 

On the question of divorce, Mrs. Nirmela laughed and said, personally I believe that person has right to choose his/her own choice but our religion is not allowing us. We cannot deny that women suffer a lot.” One man got second married and his first wife had given him permission for second marriage, later man was not happy with his second wife. So, it is absolute unfair to both women who are being subjugated to suffering, to stop such incidents at least we ought to have laws, Mrs. Nirmela shared.

It is painful, due to insecurity child girls get burden of marriage. Ignorance of State is killing a childhood of children.

We all know that if Hindu Marriage Bill which was presented by Dr. Ramesh cannot stop forced conversion but it is a right that they should have Hindu Marriage Bill and it is demanded that we must have law that can stop forced conversion and girls get the shelter.  

Does Law have its implementation? Of course, this question needs an honest answer but before going to that question another question raises, do we have a single law for indigenous people?

We want to knock at the door of governments through this piece of writing that Dear state! Hindu Marriage and Forced Conversion Bills need your attention. 

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