Karachi: Dressed in colourful clothes and wearing traditional handmade garlands, over 70 Hindu couples have tied the knot at a mass wedding ceremony here in Pakistan’s largest city, according to media reports on Monday.

The mass wedding was organised by the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) and it was held at the Railway Ground located on II Chundrigar Road on Sunday.

Every year, for the last 14 years, MNA Ramesh Kumar Vankvani, who is also the PHC patron-in-chief, has been organising mass weddings for poor Hindu families who cannot afford to marry off their children.

The first mass wedding, held in 2008, had seen 35 Hindu couples get married at the same time. That figure has grown over the years.

This year, because of safety measures related to the coronavirus pandemic, we invited only half of them to the ceremony, Vankvani said, adding that it was a cultural activity for the Hindu community.

The event also conveys the message to the world that our minority communities are completely free to hold their social events in accordance with their religion, he was quoted as saying in The News International newspaper.

As many as 72 Hindu couples joined in matrimony during the mass wedding ceremony. Most of the couples had travelled from Sindh and were accompanied by their parents, relatives and friends, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“I work as a packer boy in a mobile phone company in Korangi. If left to me, I would have had to wait for several more years to save up and get married, said Laxman, who got married to Mehek.

Vickey and Nandni belonged to Ibrahim Hyderi. Vicky said that he worked as a sweeper with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.

We have been engaged for three years. I have been trying to save up ever since our engagement but it was not enough. Finally, we decided to get married in a mass wedding, Vicky told the Dawn.

Nandni’s mother had her youngest child, five-month-old Krishan in her lap. Her eyes grew moist as someone said that the bride was going to miss her baby brother, the report said.

But this is life. Daughters have to leave their parents’ home. I will also miss my daughter, we all will, she said.

After the wedding each couple was presented with pure silver jewellery, crockery, cooking pots and utensils, along with a cheque to help them begin their new life.

Politician Mangla Sharma and several champions of interfaith harmony and minority rights graced the occasion.

There are 4.4 million Hindus in Pakistan, comprising 2.14 per cent of the total population, according to the 2017 Pakistan Census, although the Pakistan Hindu Council claims there are around 8 million in the country.

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