‘Love Jihad’: How RW Groups Pushed Meerut Girl’s Kin to File FIR
An FIR for kidnapping has been filed against the Muslim boy in Bareilly police station.
Two adults, a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl, fully aware of each others’ faith, wanted to get married consensually in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut. But now, there is a speed bump in their plan – a pending arrest and accusations of 'love jihad' by right-wing groups.
What’s the Story?
Asif and Ankita (names changed) fell in love in Bareilly while working at a call centre, as per a report in The Times of India. Ankita’s family was against the marriage, so the couple eloped to Meerut and took up a rented apartment in the western Uttar Pradesh city. Ankita and Asif had been living in Meerut for the last four months.
The couple, as per Meerut police, had “applied for marriage at the Arya Samaj temple” but the status of that application is “not known.”
When their landlord found out about Asif’s identity, he, along with members of Bajrang Dal, went to the police station.
Balraj Dungar, former west UP convenor of Bajrang Dal, said, “We were informed by the landlord that there was a case of ‘love jihad’ after which my karyakartas went to the police station to seek action.”
Kankerkheda SHO Tapeshwar Sagar confirmed the same to The Quint: “Some Hindutva groups came to us and said a Muslim boy had kidnapped a young girl and was keeping her at this rented apartment illegally. Whenever we get any information like that, it is our duty to investigate, so that we can avoid any untoward incident,”
The SHO also said that when he spoke to the couple, he found out that the girl was an adult, knew about Asif’s faith and wanted to marry him with her full consent. When he called her family in Bareilly, they informed him that they have not been in touch with the daughter ever since she planned to elope with the boy.
“They also told the police that they don’t want to keep any relationship with the girl,” the SHO told The Quint.
Following this, the SHO said, he called the police station in Bareilly to find out if the family had registered any case against the boy. There wasn’t one.
Two days later, the Bareilly police was on its way to arrest the boy from Meerut.
The Quint spoke to the girl’s father in Bareilly to find out what had changed overnight.
"I don’t understand all this. I got a call from Meerut saying that my daughter wants to marry a Muslim boy. Some right-wing groups also came down to our house. They explained to me that it is a case of ‘love jihad’. They accompanied me to the police station, where I filed an FIR,” the father said.
When the reporter countered, “You thought it is a ‘love jihad’ case only because the boy was Muslim?”Ankita’s father said, “That’s how it happens right? I didn’t even know anything. I did what I was told.”
Dungar, former west UP convenor of Bajrang Dal, said, “Our men had gone to their house in Bareilly. When the family was informed about the details of the case, they themselves filed an FIR at the police station.”
Dungar shared a copy of the FIR with The Quint where a complaint has been filed under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366 ( Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage).
Why Was FIR Not Filed Under New ‘Anti-Conversion Law’?
After Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath warned Muslims about practising ‘love jihad’ – a right-wing conspiracy theory, which accuses Muslim men of ‘luring’ Hindu women by hiding their identity and forcing them to convert to Islam on the pretext of marriage – a new law was brought in to stop religious conversions for marriages.
In a recent reversal of an earlier judgment, the Allahabad High Court had noted that, “two adults are free to choose their partner” and upheld the freedom of choice of two consenting adults as to whom they would like to live with, while referring to interfaith marriages.
But the new law states, “that no person shall convert or attempt to convert any other person from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage.”
In the Meerut case, the SHO said, “the girl has clearly denied that there were any attempts of conversion. Her statement is greater than everything. When the Bareilly police investigates, if she says that there was pressure to convert, then the new law will have to be applied.”
(With inputs from The Times of India)
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