Lodge Hindu girl in state-run women house: Pak court

Islamabad: A Pakistani court today directed authorities to lodge a Hindu girl, who was allegedly kidnapped and forced to convert before being married to a Muslim man, in a state-run women`s home and to produce her in the Supreme Court on March 26.

Justice Anwar Bajwa of the Sindh High Court ordered authorities to take Rinkle Kumari to the Pannah shelter home after hearing preliminary arguments in connection with a petition filed by Raj Kumar, the girl`s uncle.

The judge ordered the Sindh Police chief to provide full protection to the girl and to keep her in isolation in the shelter home so that no one could meet her.

The judge issued the order after Kumer`s lawyer Rasheed Rizvi referred to an order passed by the Supreme Court on March 8 for the girl to be produced before the apex court on March 26.

Rizvi contended the real question raised by Kumar`s petition was whether the girl was abducted and forced into conversion and marriage or her actions were voluntary.

Rinkle told the media in Karachi on Sunday that she converted of her own free will and adopted the name Syeda Faryal Bibi before marrying Naveed Shah. Ghulam Qadir Jatoi, the lawyer of Naveed Shah, said Rinkle was an adult and entitled to her liberties.

The judge, in his order, observed that "the atmosphere was extremely charged".

When Rinkle was produced in court, it "appeared that at least a score of almost out of control people were present in the court and repeated requests for maintaining order fell on deaf ears", he said. .

"It would not be appropriate at this stage to record her statement and it would be in the fitness of things if she is kept away from both the contending parties," the judge further said.

Kumar alleged Rinkle was kidnapped on February 23 while she was returning home from college at Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki district.

He said that Rinkle was taken to Bharchundi Sharif, a village near Mirpur Mathelo, and forcefully converted to Islam and then married to Shah.

He asked the court to record Rinkle`s statement to ascertain the facts. A bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had on March 8 directed authorities to produce three Hindu girls who were allegedly kidnapped, including Rinkle, in court on March 26.

Rinkle`s family fled Mirpur Mathelo after receiving threats and her relatives are currently staying at a gurdwara in Lahore. The relatives have asked authorities to allow the girl to go back to her family.