MITHI: The Sindh High Court has ordered police to produce Ravita Meghwar — a Hindu girl who, as stated by her family, was kidnapped, converted and married off to a Muslim man without her consent— before the court on June 22.

The Mirpurkhas DIG and Tharpakr SSP have been ordered by an SHC bench led by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar to guarantee the girl’s attendance at the next date of hearing. The court issued the directive on an application submitted by Ravita’s father, Satram Das Meghwar, through Advocate Bhagwandas, in opposition to her conversion and marriage.

Mr Meghwar told the court that his daughter, who was 16 years old, had been unlawfully married off to Syed Nawaz Ali Shah after being abducted from her village near Nagarparkar Town on June 6.

Her name was changed to Gulnaz after the conversion. On the same day she got hitched 36-year-old Shah at the marriage registrar’s office in union council Gulzar Khalil in Samaro of Umerkot district. Mr Meghwar informed that his daughter was born on July 14, 2001.

His lawyer argued that the marriage under the age of 18 was an offence that could be penalized under the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013. He said the registrar had stated Mr Shah’s year of birth (1980) and the national identity card number on the marriage certificate. Ravita’s age was shown as about 18 years, but there was no word of her NIC number.

On the same note, the lawyer informed, the certificate of conversion to Islam also did not state her date of birth and NIC number, but her age was shown as 18 years.

“She was kidnapped from her house and forcibly married off to a man twice her age,” said Mr Meghwar, who had lodged an FIR against Ali Nawaz Shah, Madad Ali Shah, Umar Junejo and Sher Mohammad Junejo for abducting his daughter. The FIR was filed under Section 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Dano Dandhal police station in Nangarparkar taluka one week ago.

Former to these events, Mr Shah and Ravita had filed in the SHC an application in search of protection and accusing the girl’s parents of issuing death threat. The court had set June 30 the date of hearing on the application.

Ravita has pleaded to her parents to allow her live with her husband peacefully as, according to her, she had by her own consent decided to embrace Islam to marry the person of her choice.

Speaking to journalists here on Tuesday, she asked the people of her community and members of civil society to stop perpetuating the issue.

“I am very content and happy after marrying Nawaz Ali Shah and now I cannot [live] without my husband,” she stated and made it a point to emphasize that she was not abducted. “I willingly went with Mr Shah after falling in love with him.” Ravita manifested her desire that courts would do justice with her and permit her to live with her husband.

On the other hand, speaking to journalists, Ms Haqu, mother of Ravita, was adamant that her daughter was abducted by the dominant Syed community, converted and then married without Ravita’s consent. She asked for her quick return.

Upon hearing both sides, Justice Salahuddin Panhwar decided to send Ravita, now changed to Gulnaz, to Darul Aman for a day where she will be able to see her mother.

June 23 has been set as the date for next hearing in the case.

Activists of the Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB) rioting against what they called ‘forced conversion’ of Ravita and members of various religious parties taking to the streets in favour of her Muslim husband butted heads outside the press club in Umerkot on Tuesday.

Bhagchand Meghwar and other members of the PPP-SB held a demonstration outside the press club, asking instantaneous arrest of alleged wrong doer Nawaz Shah who abducted Ravita, converted her to Islam and then married her without her consent.

Workers of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat, Ghousia Jamat and Jeelani Jamat came together outside the press club after walking on different streets terminate what they called the propaganda with “blasphemous contents” on social media in light of Ravita’s conversion to Islam.

Speaking to the protesters, Noor Mohammad Udhepuri stated there was a planned propaganda against Islam which, additionaly stating that the act of a person should not be seen as the act or teachings of any religion.

He stated that 50 per cent population of district was non-Muslims and there had been religious harmony among Hindus and Muslims, but such practices and comments on social media would harm the peaceful environment.

Maulana Yaqoob said that Khanqah-i-Gulzar Khalil had not converted anyone without their consent and said the people came there with their own desire to convert to Islam. He alleged that plotted conversion of schedule caste communities to Christianity was going on in missionary schools widespread in Mirpurkhas division, but none showed any expression of disapproval towards it because they offered money and converted Hindus.

Mufti Nizam Sikandri said the so-called activists said nothing when Jiyo and Meena Kolhi took their own life in Islamkot as their religion did not let them marry.