‘Forced conversion’ case: Sikh girl reiterates in Lahore court that she wants to return to husband, in-laws

Navjeevan Gopal
Chandigarh forced conversion case, forced conversion case, Sikh girl forced conversion case, conversion of a sikh girl in pakistan, sikh girl conversion into muslim, conversion of a sikh girl into muslim, Lahore High Court, india news, indian express

The court has also summoned the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency to look into whether a cyber crime case is made out against Hassan. (Representational image)

A Sikh girl from Pakistan who was allegedly forced to embrace Islam and marry a Muslim man in August last year on Thursday reiterated during a hearing in the Lahore High Court that she wanted to be with him and his family. The court will hear the case again on Friday.

Jagjit Kaur, who was renamed ‘Ayesha’ after she was allegedly forced to embrace Islam and marry Mohammad Hassan (19), is the daughter of a head granthi at Tambu Sahib gurdwara in Nankana Sahib.

Kaur’s brother Manmohan had said after the previous court hearing on January 9 that his sister had been “brainwashed” and was speaking out of “fear”.

Speaking on phone from Pakistan, Kaur’s counsel Sheikh Sultan said that the court had summoned the Nankana Sahib district police officer and a senior official of the Federal Investigation Agency in connection with the hearing on Friday. “She today re-iterated that she wants to be with her in-laws,” he added.

The court has also summoned the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency to look into whether a cyber crime case is made out against Hassan after Jagjit Kaur’s family alleged that Hassan was using Kaur’s mobile number and had sent a threatening message. Kaur’s brother showed the screenshot of the message in court.

In India, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjinder Singh Sirsa wrote to Union Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar seeking the Indian government’s intervention so that Jagjit Kaur could be “freed from the clutches of the kidnapper and allowed to reunite with her parents”.

“...After a lot of hue and cry was raised, Jagjit Kaur was finally produced in a Pakistani court today. But instead of allowing her to meet her parents, she was forced to meet the kidnapper against her will. I have been continuously receiving calls from all over the world to ensure justice for Jagjit Kaur,” said Sirsa’s letter to Jaishankar.

He further wrote, “It is a very serious issue and continued violation of human rights of minorities in Pakistan. We want the Government of India to intervene in this matter immediately and seek justice for Jagjit Kaur. She should be freed from the clutches of the kidnapper and allowed to reunite with her parents. Tomorrow Jagjit Kaur will be produced in the court in Pakistan again...I humbly request you to take up this matter with Pakistan government on priority basis for which the Sikh community shall be highly grateful to you.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Sirsa also wrote, “We are meeting the Union Home Secretary on January 28 seeking permission for sending a delegation of DSGMC & SGPC to Pakistan who would meet minority families and take first hand report of abduction and forced conversion incidents happening with their daughters.”

During the January 9 hearing, the court had while sending Jagjit back to a shelter home in Lahore issued directions allowing Kaur’s parents and family to meet her at the shelter home. However, they couldn’t meet her as her father was unwell.

According to Kaur’s counsel, the court had on January 8 hearing given her “10 working days to make up her mind after she said she wanted to go to her husband”.

On January 3, Hassan’s brother Imran Ali Chishti had led a mob that pelted stones at Gurdwara Janam Asthan, the birthplace of Guru Nanak. Threatening Sikhs at Nankana Sahib, Chishti had expressed anguish at the alleged harassment of his family members by local police and civil authorities. In a video clip, he was purportedly heard saying that no Sikh would be allowed to live in Nankana Sahib and that the name of the town would also be changed. Chishti was later arrested and booked under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

Jagjit’s family has alleged that six armed persons had barged into their house, kidnapped her, and later forced her to “embrace Islam and forcibly marry Hassan” on August 28 last year.

The ongoing hearings are in connection with an application moved by Jagjit in court seeking to be “freed” from shelter home.