In a shocking incident, a Hindu girl from Tharparkar in Pakistan was allegedly abducted and forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man. According to an Express Tribune report, the girl and her husband, however, have filed a petition in Sindh High Court seeking protection and declaring the conversion as consensual.
The girl has reportedly been identified as Ravita Meghwadh, a teenager, who converted to Islam on June 6 and changed her name to Gulnaz. After converting to Islam, she married Syed Nawaz Ali Shah at the marriage registrar’s office in union council Samaro in Umerkot.
Following the incident, Ravita’s family accused Shah of kidnapping her. “She was abducted from her house and forcibly married to a man twice her age,” said her father Satram alias Satio Meghwadh, according to the Express Tribune report.
The father also lodged an FIR against Shah and his family under Section 365-B of Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with kidnapping to compel a woman to marry against her will.
Video Courtesy: YouTube
The family claims Ravita is underage based on a primary school certificate, which mentions her date of birth as July 14, 2001, making her about 16 years old.
Notably, the marriage registrar has mentioned Shah’s year of birth as 1980, and national identity card number on the marriage certificate, but Ravita’s age has been written as “approximately 18” and her NIC number is not mentioned. Similarly, the certificate of conversion to Islam also does not mention her date of birth and NIC number, listing her age as “approximately 18.”
The Meghwadh family is also expected to file a petition in Sindh High Court against the marriage. It is alleged that the marriage was solemnised in violation of Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013, which was passed by Sindh Assembly in April 2014.
The law restricts the registration of marriages of people below 18 years of age. An offence under this act is cognisable, non-bailable and non-compoundable with a punishment of up to three years in jail for the groom, person solemnising such marriage and even the family of the man and woman tying the knot.