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Pakistan: Young Hindu Girl Abducted, Denied Freedom of Conscience

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) identifies freedom of conscience as one of our most valued human rights, as specifically outlined in Article 18 of the UDHR.

We have been contacted on the case of Kajal Bheel. Kajal is a 12 year old Hindu girl, who was abducted, forcefully married and religiously converted. We have been contacted by a human rights campaign working for her freedom. On October 24, Kajal Bheel, daughter of Mohan Laal Bheel was abducted from her home at Udero Laal town in the district of Halla in Sindh, Pakistan

The Global Human Rights Defence organization is a human rights organization based in The Hague, Netherlands. Their work mainly focuses on the rights of religious minorities and marginalized groups in South Asia.

The Global Human Rights Defence has eight lawyers working on the case in Pakistan. Her oppressors are now claiming she is an adult and that there is no case. Her next court hearing has been postponed until December 19th. On December 19th, the court will also bring up two similar cases on forced conversions of minor girls.

By then, the human rights group is hoping to have collected 5000 signatures in order to put pressure on the national government.

They asking human rights activists to sign the following petition

The Global Human Rights Defence report provides the following background:
“On October 21 Kajal Bheel, a 12-year old Hindu girl from Sindh, Pakistan, was abducted, forcefully converted and married to one of her abductors. With the police refusing to start an investigation, insisting that there is no case to solve, and the court neglecting the birth certificate as proof of age, Kajal was subjected to a humiliating medical examination to prove she is a child. Despite the medical results proving she is indeed a minor, 17 years old , the court has chosen to apply Sharia Law, according to which a girl becomes a women upon reaching puberty. Kajal’s family is now required to prove that Kajal is a minor according to Hindu Family Law during the next hearing on December 4th. For the time being, Kajal has not been allowed to stay with her family. She has been taken by her abductor, and consequently suffers constant psychological abuse. Kajal Bheel is a prisoner of the system, which is supposed to protect little girls like her, but is instead robbing her of her childhood. Help us save Kajal and bring her back to her parents!”

Global Human Rights Defence also has an Internet campaign on Twitter at: #SaveKajal – show your support.

The constitution and laws in Pakistan do not allow child marriage before the age of 18. We are advised that Anjali’s school leaving and birth certificates confirms that she was born in 2002 and therefore her marriage is illegal.

This sad case of Hindu child abduction and denial of human rights of freedom of conscience has been too common. In November, reports have been provided of similar child abductions of Hindu girls: Neelam Kohli (11 years old), Anjali Menghwar (12 years old), Kiran Kumari (14 years old), Parsa Kolhi, and Wali Kolhi.