30 mar 2012
Islamabad Pakistan’s minority Hindu community has protested the prolonged delay in the approval of a law to register their marriages, saying the lack of legislation affected the inheritance rights of women.
A large group of Hindus joined a protest outside the National Press Club in Islamabad yesterday and shouted slogans against the government.
They also performed a mock Hindu marriage to protest the delay in the approval of the Hindu Marriage Registration Act by parliament.
Shakuntala Devi, an activist of the Scheduled Caste Rights Movement, said Hindu women had suffered for more than six decades due to the absence of any law to protect their matrimonial rights.
“There are no family laws for Hindus. Their marriages are not registered. The women cannot claim their inheritance rights as they cannot produce any evidence of their marriage in court,” she told the media.
There were cases of married Hindu women being kidnapped while their husbands were unable to approach the court because they had no documentary evidence of their marriage.
“Women cannot file for divorce nor can they claim custody of their children as men often deny the marriage in court,” Shakuntala Devi said.
There were also cases of Hindu women being abducted and married off to non-Hindus and even this phenomenon goes unchallenged because there is no law to protect the women, she said.