The family of a minor Hindu girl in Pakistan’s Tharparkar district has claimed that their daughter was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man. However, the girl and her husband have denied the claims saying the marriage and conversion were consensual. The duo has also filed a petition in Sindh High Court seeking protection, reported The Express Tribune.
Ravita Meghwadh reportedly converted to Islam on June 6 and married Syed Nawaz Ali Shah on the same day in Umerkot, Shah and his family claimed. However, Ravita’s family has accused Shah of kidnapping her. “She was abducted from her house and forcibly married to a man twice her age,” alleged her father Satio Meghwadh. The family also lodged an FIR under Section 365-B of Pakistan Penal Code at Nano Dandal police station this week. The allegations are levied against the husband and three others.
While the girl’s family claims Ravita — now Gulnaz — is 16, the marriage registrar has not written her exact age on the marriage certificate. The document lists her age as “approximately 18” and also does not include her national identity card number, reported The Express Tribune.
The family has also claimed the kidnapping was done to force the Meghwadh family to leave the village. “Our family has four houses in the village. Some men from Syed and Junejo communities, who dominate the village population, kidnapped her and asked us to leave the village through some intermediaries,” Ravita’s brother-in-law claimed.
Accusing the girl’s family of issuing threats, Shah and his wife reportedly told the local media in Kunri, Umerkot that their marriage was consensual. In April 2014, Sindh Assembly had passed Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 which restricts registration of marriages of people below 18 years of age.