Viral image claiming to show a child marriage is wrong
The marriage was successfully averted by the police
Claim: Viral image shows a 9-year-old Hindu girl Reshma who was forcibly abducted, taken to a Sufi shrine, converted to Islam and married to a 45-year-old Muslim man from Jacobabad named Wazir Hussain
Fact: The girl in the image was saved from a child marriage marriage by the Kashmore police. Her parents had sold her to the man in the picture for PKR 25,000. IGP Dr Jamil Ahmed had tweeted about the case back in 2019.
On 24 May 2023, Twitter user @JIX5A shared an image showing a minor girl child dressed as a bride next to a middle-aged man wearing a Muslim cap. The image was captioned: “Reshma, a 9 year old Hindu girl in Sindh Pakistan was forcibly abducted, taken to a Sufi Dargah, converted to Islam and married to Wazir Hussain, a 45 year old Muslim abductor from Jacobabad, Sindh Pakistan.”
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check found this claim to be false. Through reverse image search we found that this image was earlier shared on the internet in 2019.
We found a tweet by IGP Dr Jamil Ahmed which shared on 3 May 2019 with the same image as the claim but it was captioned: “Child Marriage Function was stopped by Kashmore police in time, case registered immediately, culprit arrested and child girl sent back home. And it all happened in less than 24 hours, dear friends. Life of a 10 year old innocent girl was saved yesterday by Police.” We found more tweets here, here, and here from 4 and 5 May 2019, quoting the same details of the incident as those mentioned in IGP Jamil Ahmed’s tweet.
We also got in touch with journalist Veengas, founding editor of The Rise News, who shared with us a video clip from 2019 and clarified that this was, indeed, a child marriage issue; however, this case has nothing to do with forced conversion as the young girl also belonged to a Muslim family. In the video, the same man as the one shown in the image is shown in handcuffs inside a police station and then the young girl could be seen crying standing next to the man’s mother. The mother speaks in Sindhi and the translated transcript of her statement is as follows:
Mother: “Shut up and do not cry or the police will scold you… Her parents willingly gave her hand in marriage.”
Journalist’s question: But she is ten years old and your son is 40 years old?
Mother: “So what if he is forty years old? If her parents willingly agreed we initiated the marriage.”
Journalist’s question: Are the parents alive?
“The father is, but the mother is dead.”
Journalist’s question: Who does she live with?
“She lives with her father”
From this clip, it is clear that the man in the image was arrested by the police and brought to the jail after this young girl was sold to this man by her parents. She was not abducted and forcefully converted from Hinduism to Islam.
The tweet was viewed 1.5 million times and received more than 17,892 interactions and reached 2,038,475 followers.
The claim was shared on Instagram here
Conclusion: A viral image of a young Hindu girl child forcefully abducted and converted to Islam is false. The young girl was forced into an underage marriage, but she was not forcibly converted.
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