Punjab govt to negotiate with Sikhs over girl’s ‘forced conversion’


LAHORE: The Punjab government on Friday appointed Law Minister Raja Basharat to lead a high-level committee for negotiations with a 30-member committee representing the Sikh community over the alleged abduction and forced conversion of a teenage Sikh girl.

Jagjit Kaur, 19, was purportedly abducted on Aug 28 from Nankana Sahib by six people who forcibly converted her to Islam, the FIR [First Information Report] alleges. Four suspects were arrested subsequently from Lahore while two remain at large.

Jagjit Kaur’s advocate Sheikh Sultan, however, contradicts the claims made by members of her community. According to the advocate, Kaur had embraced Islam and married Muhammad Hassan out of her own volition.

A writ petition on behalf of Kaur has been submitted in the Lahore High Court. In addition, Kaur has also submitted a written statement to the court alleging her family of wanting to kill her. She is currently housed in Darul Aman in Lahore as per the orders of the additional sessions judge.

The Nankana Sahib District Police Officer in his memorandum to Inspector General Police has provided “relevant documentary and video proof of the nikah and the girl’s conversion to Islam” along with Kaur’s Nikahnama and documents from the National Database and Registration Authority, validating her marriage to Muhammad Hassan.

Despite Kaur’s statement in court, the Sikh community has continued to protest against what they term as forced conversion. They have demanded the return of the girl back to her family regardless of the conversion being consensual or not.

In his memorandum to the IGP the DPO further writes, “It is requested that concerned quarters may kindly be taken on board so that the Sikh community could be engaged and pacified timely as the community has announced to protest if their demand is not honoured,” adding “It is pertinent to mention here that in the backdrop of Indo-Pak tension vis-a-vis [occupied] Kashmir, any such protest could damage image of the country internationally.”