The Union government today summoned a senior official from the Pakistan High Commission to register its protest against the alleged abduction of a Hindu woman midway through her marriage ceremony at Hala city in the neighbouring country's Sindh province two days ago, sources said.
The 24-year-old was said to have been abducted by residents with the help of local police personnel on Saturday. According to sources, she had already been married off to a Pakistani man by the time her family members managed to lodge a complaint.
Condemning the incident, the government asked the Pakistan government to expedite the probe and "act with utmost urgency" to bring the perpetrators to justice. It also said that the Imran Khan government was duty bound to ensure that the country's minorities, which includes those from the Hindu community, are protected and provided for.
The All Pakistan Hindu Council said that the woman, Bharti Bai, was abducted from her wedding by a gang of armed men and married off to one Shahruk Gul after being forcibly converted to Islam. However, the latter has posted documents on social media with the claim that she had changed her faith in December and adopted the name "Bushra".
Hindus, who comprise approximately 2 per cent of Pakistan's population, are mainly concentrated in Sindh province. The Union government has cited occasional reports of their forced religious conversion to highlight the need to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act, which makes it easier for "persecuted" migrants from three neighbouring countries to become Indian nationals.
Earlier this month, a 15-year-old Hindu girl was allegedly abducted from Jacobabad district in Sindh province and forcibly converted to Islam before being married off to a Muslim man. Two other abductions were reported from a village in the same region on January 14 too.
India also lodged a separate protest with the diplomat regarding the desecration of the Mata Rani Bhatiyani temple in Sindh province's Tharparkar district on Sunday.
According to police, four suspects entered the temple located in Chachro area early that morning and vandalised the idols and religious texts kept inside. The local station house officer called it a "unique incident", claiming that Hindus and Muslims in the area have co-existed in harmony for decades.
The Nankana Gurdwara Sahib, a Sikh religious structure in Pakistan, was attacked by an angry mob of around 400 people earlier this month.