Muslim Teen Booked Under Anti-Conversion Law in UP After Outing

The girl has insisted that he never discussed marriage or conversion with her.

2 min read
‘Love jihad’ laws being planned by <a href="">several BJP states</a> are nothing but old wine in a new bottle featuring existing anti-conversion laws in India.

Sonu Alias Saquib, aged 18, was booked under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Law on 14 December 2020 in UP’s Bijnor while he was out eating pizza with a 16-year-old former classmate.

He was accused of allegedly inducing the minor girl to elope and marry him, for the purpose of forced conversion.

The FIR lodged against him is reportedly based on a complaint filed by her father, a farmer in Berkheda village, Bijnor.

The case has given rise to a controversy because the father of the girl has accused the local police of “blowing the episode out of proportion”, and expressed that his daughter never tried to elope, The Print reported.

He told The Print, “I told them (police) that she had gone with him for an outing and she made a mistake, but the police and then the media turned it into an episode of elopement.”

“I had told the police that I do not want to complain but they scolded me and said that they may elope in the future and I must do it for my daughter. I do not understand much of how things work, so I agreed,” he added.

Sonu’s family claims that he is still a minor, and the girl has insisted that he never discussed marriage or conversion with her.

Sabeena, Sonu’s sister-in-law, expressed to The Print, “They were not eloping. Is meeting a Hindu girl also a crime now?”

While the father’s complaint fails to mention sexual assault of any kind, the local police have booked Sonu on charges of abduction and under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

This is the latest contentious case under the anti-conversion ordinance passed in the BJP-ruled state, which has received criticism for being unconstitutional and against fundamental rights.

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