J&K: Sikh Girl Alleges Forced Conversion By Classmates, Police Detains Three Youth For Questioning
On July 2, a girl studying at the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Kashmir’s Pulwama district was allegedly attacked by unidentified bike-borne assailants. The J&K police detained three youth in connection with the alleged stabbing and harassment of the girl belonging to the minority Sikh community.
The girl, a resident of Gandhpora Tral, in a viral video, claimed that she was being harassed in her college by a group of students, including a woman.
Sources on condition of anonymity spoke to The Logical Indian and said that she was being forced to change her religion and observe Roza (fasting in the month of Ramzan) and wear a headscarf. Further, she claimed that when she refused to change her religion, she received death threats. She further claimed that on the same day a friend approached her on the pretext of having a conversation and tried to strangulate her.
When the 18-year-old informed her family about the harassment that she was going through, her family took up the matter with the university authorities. “The girl named the accused in her complaint and the college VC assured the family that probe will be initiated in the matter,” told the source.
Reportedly, the university did not take any further action.
On July 2, when the girl was waiting for her bus outside her university, she was allegedly attacked with a sharp weapon by yet-unidentified assailants. According to the Firstpost, she suffered injuries on her arm and alleged that no action was taken against the culprits even after an FIR was registered the next day. The girl has also indicated that the two incidents might be linked.
Politicisation and Vested Interests
According to the local media, Sikh Bodies of Kashmir have urged “all the vested interest elements particularly Bharatiya Janata Party to stop playing politics on an immaterial issue related to the harassment of a Sikh girl at Islamic University of Science and Technology Awantipora”.
“Tral is the symbol of harmony and across Kashmir Muslims and Sikhs are living like brothers. Some people are hell-bent to blow the issue out of proportion as they have their own vested interest,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, president All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee.
However, the board has demanded a fair probe in the case. “Yes, if somebody has harassed the Sikh girl, the probe should be initiated and guilty should be punished. But at the same time, we should not blame everyone for an isolated incident,” said Raina. He also asked Joint Resistance Leadership (an alliance of top-ranked separatist leaders of Kashmir) to issue a statement on the matter and tell the world that Sikhs are more secure than Muslims in Kashmir.
The president, Sikh Minority Front, Jammu & Kashmir, Profesor Joginder Singh Shan said that he has called organisations of both Muslim and Sikh communities to resolve the issue amicably. He also said, “The Muslim community described the girl as a daughter of Tral and assured all possible help to her. We appreciate timely action from the police.”
The Akali Dal party members also took to the twitter to condemn the issue.
I and S. @mssirsa took serious notice of the incident occurred with a Sikh girl and her family at Tral in J&K. We took up the issue with the DGP of the state to take prompt action in the case and ensure safety of the girl and her family and also take stern action. pic.twitter.com/000YAFZIYP
— Bikram Majithia (@bsmajithia) July 7, 2018
The BJP on July 3 had raised the issue, claiming that the girl of the minority community was harassed. Meanwhile, BJP leader from Tral Avtar Singh said that some people tried to malign his image for no fault of his. “I only demanded probe into the incident and never tried to create a wedge between Muslim and Sikh communities of Tral,” Singh said.
The J&K police who was initially accused of not taking any action have taken suo motu cognizance of the case. According to the Times of India, Station House Officer (SHO), Tral, Mohammad Yousuf, said that the complainant in the FIR is not the girl or her family members, but the police. “We have already recorded the statement of the girl and her father, and further investigation is on,” he said.
According to some other reports, the police also said, “The matter is not so serious and has been resolved.” The police also appealed to people from both communities to spread the love and live in harmony.
According to some local media reports, the university has refuted allegations regarding the harassment of the Sikh girl by her classmates. They have further said that the university is in touch with the investigating agency and is helping the agency probe the matter.
“The university refutes all allegations and requests all the civilized citizens of the country to not take any heed to any rumours and conspiracies of all those mischievous elements who are always there to create mistrust and dilute the harmony and diversity of the country. These elements are trying to further their selfish interests by creating a divide in society through propaganda.” the university said.
IUST has been a symbol of harmony and diversity since its inception and recent joining of many people from various parts of the country as its family members is a living example in this regard,” the university further said in their statement.
The Logical Indian take
Allegations of harassment, attack and ‘forced conversion’ made by a student is a concerning matter. We urge the police and the university authorities to resolve this issue, and moreover, we urge the various political parties to not use this one-off incident for incendiary and communally divisive vote politics.
Also, read: After Relatives Refuse To Help, Muslim Youths Collect Funds For The Last Rites Of A Hindu Woman