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Punjab CM expresses concern over forceful conversion, marriage of Sikh girl in Pak

twitter-logoPTI | September 3, 2019 | Updated 19:32 IST

(Eds: Adding details) New Delhi, Sep 3 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday expressed concern over the alleged forceful conversion and marriage of a Sikh girl in Pakistan and said the neighbouring country should protect the rights of the minorities. In Pakistan's Punjab province, the teenage girl, daughter of a gurdwara granthi (priest) there, was abducted and converted to Islam at gunpoint before being forced to marry a Muslim man, her family has alleged. "I have already taken up the issue with the highest authorities here. I understand the government of India has also taken up the issue with Pakistan. It is a matter of concern. Pakistan should do the needful to protect the rights of Sikhs," he told reporters here after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Singh also referred to his public statement on the issue on Monday where he lashed out at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing him of having failed in helping the girl. Singh had also offered to help the girl's family settle here in Punjab. A video of the girl at the wedding ceremony has also gone viral on social media. In the video, the girl is seen sitting beside one Mohammad Hassan, who married her, and claiming she married him without any pressure. The Sikh community in Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev, has also held protests over the incident in Pakistan. Several protests were also held in Delhi and other parts of the country as well. India on Sunday expressed strong concern over the incidents of Sikh girls of being converted and married to Muslim men and asked Islamabad to take remedial action to stop such cases. Singh also discussed the state's security with Shah. Replying a question on Kartarpur Sahib corridor, the Punjab chief minister said work was going on as schedule and he was satisfied with the progress. The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev. Pakistan and India are still discussing the modalities regarding opening of the corridor at Narowal, some 125-km from Lahore, on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November. On the extension of timeline for another four months to Punjab, Haryana and the Centre by the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement in the contentious SYL issue, Singh said the apex court had already ordered both the governments of Punjab and Haryana to nominate their officers to find an amicable solution through talks. The Punjab Chief Secretary was already in talks with his Haryana counterpart to resolve the issue in the best possible way, he said. PTI ACB SKC ZMN

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