Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Pak Hindu women hope law will stop abductions, forced weddings
Sapna Gobia is busy preparing for her wedding in Pakistan in a few weeks. In many ways, her wedding will follow traditions passed down through generations, with the bride and groom circling a sacred fire lit by their families.
But unlike the marriage of her parents, Gobia’s will be formalised by a government certificate under a new Hindu marriage law.
The 25-year-old will be one of millions of women from mostly-Muslim Pakistan’s Hindu minority who now have the right to a certificate establishing her marital status under the Hindu Marriage Act 2017 that was signed into law on March 19.
“We Hindu girls and married women have lived in the shadow of constant fear ... of being kidnapped, forced to abandon our faith and convert and re-married forcibly to someone not from our faith,” said Gobia, a graduate in English literature from a government college in the town of Dharaki in southern Pakistan.