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UP: First Case Filed Under Anti-Conversion Law, Accused Absconding

The 22-year old accused has been booked under 504, 506 IPC and section 3/5 of the new anti-conversion law.

Updated
Law
3 min read
‘Love jihad’ laws are being planned by <a href="https://www.thequint.com/news/india/love-jihad-laws-what-are-the-5-bjp-states-up-mp-karnataka-haryana-assam-planning#read-more">several BJP states</a>.
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The Uttar Pradesh Police have lodged their first case at the Deorania police station in the district under the anti-conversion law recently passed by the Yogi government based on the complaint of a 20-year-old woman’s father in Bareilly.

The case has been filed against a 22-year old college student, Owais Ahmed, on Saturday, 28 November, under Section 3/5 of the Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Act along with Sections 504 (breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

SP (Rural) Bareilly Sansar Singh told The Logical Indian that, "The accused has been booked under 504, 506 IPC and Section 3/5 of the new anti-conversion law for trying to forcibly convert a girl to Islam."

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Woman’s Father Claims Accused Had Threatened Them

Awanish Kumar Awasthi, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), told Times of India that the young woman’s father, Tikaram, is a resident of Sharif Nagar and he accused the youth – who was studying together with his daughter – Ahmed, of converting the young woman through “allurement, by allegedly asking the young, married woman to change her religion and come stay with him.”

The woman’s family alleged that Ahmed frequently visited their family home and threatened members with dire consequences, reported Times Of India.

The accused lives in the same village as the girl and is a scrap labourer, according to a Station House Officer who spoke to The Hindu.

"Owais was giving threats to the family because of their opposition to conversion," the father said to The Logical Indian.

The Hindu reported that the FIR statement mentioned the father alleging, “Despite repeated disapprovals by me and my family, he (the boy) is not listening, and is applying pressure on me and my family through abuses and death threats to fulfil his desire".

Additional SP Sansaar Singh told Times Of India that, “Accused Owais Ahmad is a resident of Shareefnagar locality in Deorania. He had been forcing the girl, who is married, to change her religion and start living with him. Since this act was not updated in the computer database, so we had to manually add it to the database. The accused is a college student and pursuing post-graduation. We have deployed teams to nab him and force has been deployed outside complainant's house for security."

The suspect is allegedly absconding since the report has been filed.

Woman’s Brother Says UP Police Reopened Settled Matter

The woman had allegedly eloped with the accused Muslim man in October 2019, but the police had tracked them down in three-four days, according to the woman’s brother, Kesarpal Rathore, reported The Hindu. He said the case had been resolved in 2019 itself.

Claiming that was the last contact between the two parties, Rathore told The Hindu, “The case had come to an end one year ago with the court decision.” He also told the paper that the woman has subsequently married another man, in May 2020.

The woman’s brother also claimed that their family had not pursued the matter again, and it was the police who went to their house to question them. “Police came to our house and said there was an old file lying (with them). Police told me they are taking him (father) to the police station for questioning for some investigation,” he told The Hindu.

Station Officer Deorania, Daya Shankar, told The Hindu that the family hushed the matter to protect social honour and had earlier filed a case under kidnapping against the boy, “They had changed their statements, so that they don’t face any hurdles in getting the girl married. They rescued their own honour,” said the officer.

The officer also claimed that the accused was bothering the woman even after she had got married. “Even yesterday, he had issued a threat,” said the (girl’s father).

“Even after she got married he was bothering her,” the officer added.

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The Uttar Pradesh Governor on Saturday, 28 November, promulgated the controversial UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020, that ostensibly deals with ‘unlawful conversions’ to tackle what several states have called ‘love jihad’. The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet had cleared the ordinance on 24 November.

The ordinance had proposed for a jail term of 1-5 years with a Rs 15,000 penalty for forceful religious conversion. For conversions of minors & women of SC/SC community, there will be jail term of 3-10 years with Rs 25,000 penalty.

(With inputs from Times of India, The Hindu and The Logical Indian)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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