External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has informed the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) that it had raised with Pakistan the forced religious conversion of a Sikh woman and conveyed that it is expected that strict action would be taken against those responsible.
In a statement, the NCM said it had taken cognizance of media reports regarding abduction and forcible conversion of a Sikh girl in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area.
NCM chief Iqbal Singh Lalpura through a letter dated August 22 had requested the Minister of External Affairs to take up the matter with his counterpart in Pakistan so that this type of incident is not repeated and appropriate steps are taken to prevent and combat hate, and secure the safety of Sikhs in Pakistan.
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, in a letter dated September 17, informed NCM chief that the government has taken note of the incident and as soon as the report of the incident was received, it raised the matter with the Pakistan government through diplomatic channels, conveying grave concerns at such a shocking and deplorable incident, the statement said. The government also shared its expectations that the government of Pakistan will sincerely investigate the matter and take strict action against those responsible for this incident, it said.
The government also shared the concern in Indian society over the continued persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan.
Pakistan has also been called upon to ensure the safety, security and welfare of the members of the minority communities in Pakistan, including their places of worship, the statement said.
Reportedly, the Sikh woman, a teacher, from Buner district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was abducted at gunpoint on August 20 and forcibly married to her abductor.
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