Implement Inter Caste Marriage Act in J&K, says Sikh body

If anti-conversion law is implemented, it will stop forcible conversions, says APSCC chief

President of the All Party Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) Jagmohan Singh Raina on Wednesday demanded implementation of the Inter Caste Marriage Act in Jammu and Kashmir to stop interfaith marriages.

“If the anti-conversion law is implemented, it would stop the forcible conversion of people belonging to any religion whatsoever. As a result of the same, friction between the different communities would come to an end once for all. There would be no tensions between the communities and all the people would live without fear,” Mr. Raina said at a press conference in Srinagar.

The statement comes a day after a Sikh girl married a Sikh man after a major controversy. Earlier she was married to a Muslim man in Srinagar. However, the Sikh family lodged a case of abduction and alleged forced conversion.

Police officials said they traced the girl and handed her over to the family. In another case, a Sikh girl uploaded a video on the social media and claimed she got married to a Muslim boy “out of her own will.”

Mr. Raina described these marriages as “unfortunate incidents”. “It is important that both Muslims and Sikhs maintain the communal harmony and brotherhood,” he added.

He asked the people to remain vigilant and ensure that the congenial atmosphere did not get vitiated. “The Sikh community in Jammu and Kashmir has been living in harmony with the majority Muslim community. Over the years many attempts were made to create a wedge between the two communities by the vested interests. However, the nefarious designs got defeated due to the strong bond that exists between the two communities,” Mr. Raina said.

The issue of these two marriages was first raised by Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). They had even sought intervention of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in the matter.

MMU refutes claims

Meanwhile, the Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of religious bodies and clerics, on Tuesday refuted the claims that the two local Sikh girls were forcibly converted to Islam for marriage.

“Senior leader Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moswi Al-Safwi, on the suggestion of incarcerated Mirwaiz, met with members of the local Sikh community as well as members of the Shiromani Akali Dal to find out about the issue at hand that had caused anguish among the local Sikh community, and to address it amicably. It’s clear that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and harmony, and that there is absolutely no room for coercion or force in Islam,” a MMU spokesman said.

The MMU alleged that some outside elements deliberately want to undermine the centuries-old atmosphere of religious tolerance and harmony that exists in Kashmir and create a rift among communities living here. “It should not be allowed at all,” the spokesman added.

Kashmir’s grand mufti Nasir-ul-Islam has also come up with a statement on the issue, saying “forcible conversion is unacceptable in Islam.”

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