SHIKARPUR, SINDH (Pakistan): Though not a part of any organised ethnic cleaning program, a recent murder of a Hindu/Sidhi girl in Pakistan has again brought to the fore the travails of the Hindu minority in our neighbouring Islamic Republic.
On January 27, 2019, Talreja family’s daughter, Rajkumari Talreja was shot dead by Agha Salar Khan Pathan in Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan, as she had refused to convert to Islam and marry him.
Agha Salar Khan Pathan, a resident of Lakki Ghulam Shah, was said to be serving as an inspector in the anti-encroachment cell.
Rajkumari, 32, ran a gym located at Hathi Gate, an upscale locality of Shikarpur and was about to get married on February 3 in Karachi.
It may be noted that to marry a Muslim man in Pakistan, the girl has to first embrace Islam. Unfortunately, once converted, the girl can almost never return to her original faith, as it could lead to fatal backlash for the person as well as the community.
Important is to note that while Hindu women are routinely married off to the Muslims, the opposite is impossible.
— Farahnaz Ispahani (@fispahani) February 6, 2019
Initial police investigation suggested that Pathan called her to discuss the situation. He took her to a place near the bus stop in his car and during the discussion, Pathan took out his pistol and shot her before shooting himself.
He died on the spot and Rajkumari, in a critical condition, was rushed to a nearby private hospital by onlookers and police. However, she died during treatment.
Rajkumari was due to marry Akash Kewalramani, a Hindu boy of her own Sindhi community on February 3, 2019.
The wedding was due to happen at the Global Marquees ‘Vintage’ near FTC Building, Karachi.
Humiliated that a Hindu woman rejected his advances, Agha reportedly told Rajkumari ‘that either you come to me, or I won’t let you be with another one.’
As Rajkumari again refused him, Agha shot him dead.
As is the norm these days across the globe to blame mental issues for all extremist and terrorist activities, relatives of Agha Salar Khan Pathan claim that he had been mentally upset since the woman’s marriage with some other person. However, such incidents are rarely out of common in Pakistan: Every year, Muslim men abduct and forcibly convert about 1,000 girls — mostly Hindus,but also Christians, according to the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan, a local human rights group.
About 5,000 Pakistani Hindus leave every year for neighboring India — where 80% are Hindus — to escape religious persecution, according to the Pakistan Hindu Council.
Legislation banning such conversions for those under age 18 was passed unanimously late last year by the legislature in the southern province of Sindh, but it never went into effect.
Hard-line Islamic groups objected to the measure, which called for up to five years in jail for those who force a conversion. They threatened protests, arguing the law was anti-Islamic and part of a conspiracy to make Pakistan a secular country.
“We will not remain silent on this controversial law,” said Hafiz Saeed, a leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a self-described charity that the United States has labelled a terrorist group.
“Muslims in Pakistan will never treat Hindus as their own,” said Meera Bai, a Pakistani Hindu immigrant in New Delhi told USA Today. “For them, we will always remain the ‘other.’”