A Sikh girl's love affair and charges of forcible conversion take centre stage
A 19-year-old says she married a Muslim man of her own free will in Pakistan; her Sikh family alleges abduction and forced conversion.
A 19-year-old Sikh girl is at the centre of a controversy swirling with accusations of an inter-communal love affair and forced conversion in Pakistan, which has been widely covered.
The Sikh community is angered by what they say is the abduction and forced conversion to Islam of the girl before being married to a Muslim man in Punjab province.
A case been registered against six people in the case, Muhammad Jamil, Nankana City Police Investigation Officer, told PTI.
The family of the girl, in a video message, has claimed that the girl was abducted and forcibly converted and sought Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's help.
Police have arrested one of the suspects named Arsalan, a friend of the prime accused Mohammad Hassan who married the Sikh girl.
"Arsalan helped Hassan marry the Sikh girl," he said.
The police officer, however, said that Hassan and the girl live in the same locality. "They had an affair and the girl decided to elope with him," he said.
The officer said that the girl, identified as Jagjit Kaur, in her statement declared that she embraced Islam and married Hassan of her free will. He said that the girl, through her lawyer Sheikh Sultan, rejected her family's allegations.
Sultan said that he has also filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against the local police and her family on behalf of the girl. As per the directions of the court, Kaur has been sent to Darul Aman, Lahore (a shelter home).
Meanwhile, a video of the girl at the wedding ceremony has also gone viral on social media. In the video, the girl is seen sitting beside Hassan and saying that she was marrying him without any pressure.
India on Friday said it has raised with Pakistan the issue of the Sikh girl's forced conversion to Islam and asked for "immediate remedial action."
The state government has constituted a high-level panel to negotiate with the 30-member committee formed by the Sikh community in connection with the case.
Prime Minister Khan had in March ordered a probe into reports of abduction, forced conversion and underage marriages of two teenage Hindu girls in Sindh province. The two girls were allegedly kidnapped by a group of influential men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi.