Forced FIRs, Friends Held: UP’s Cases of Arrest Citing Love Jihad
UP’s love-jihad law has led to a number of FIRs, arrests and other actions that may be legally inexplicable.
The new ‘love-jihad’ law in Uttar Pradesh has been creating a stir, with reportedly at least 35 arrests made since it was first passed by the Yogi Adityanath government in the state.
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.”
However, it is has led to a number of FIRs, arrests and other actions that may be legally inexplicable.
Here are some of the cases of arrest made under the new anti-conversion law in the state.
How Right-Wing Groups Pushed A Girl’s Kin to File FIR
Two adults wanted to get married consensually in UP’s Meerut. Their landlord, along with members of the Bajrang Dal, found out that the boy was Muslim and called the cops on them. The girl, however, informed the cops that she wanted to get married to the boy and was well aware of his faith. The police also called the family of the girl to confirm that they had not filed any case against the boy.
Two days later, however, the Bareilly police was on their way to arrest the guy. The Quint found out that the girl’s family had been pushed by right-wing groups to file the FIR.
The Quint’s reporter asked the girl’s father: “You thought it is a ‘love jihad’ case only because the boy was Muslim?” The girl’s father, then, said:
“That’s how it happens right? I didn’t even know anything. I did what I was told.”The girl’s father
Booked for Walking With Former Classmate
A muslim teenager was booked under the new anti-conversion law for walking a former classmate, a 16-year-old Dalit girl, home after a birthday party in UP’s Bijnor. He has been slapped with charges under sections of the SC/ST Act, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. His 16-year-old friend however ,has categorically denied any wrongdoing on the part of her Muslim friend.
A few days after her friend’s arrest, she told The Indian Express:
“I have told this to the magistrate, and I will say this again. Those men had a problem with me walking with my friend. They made videos of me and are now calling it love jihad. I did nothing wrong. I went of my own free will.”
Arrested at a Pizza Outing
An 18-year-old Muslim boy was arrested according to, The Print, after he went on a pizza and soft drink outing with a 16-year-old Dalit girl. The boy has reportedly been booked for allegedly “inducing” the minor girl to elope with him with the intention to marry and forcefully change her religion. The boy has also been charged with 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.
The FIR, according to The Print, is purportedly based on a complaint filed by her father, a farmer in Berkheda village in this western UP district.
However, according to The Print, the father of the girl accused the local police of dictating the complaint to him and “blowing the episode out of proportion”. The father has also denied that the girl tried to elope, and the girl has pointed out that the boy never even discussed marriage or conversion with her.
Further, among other issues, the police said that the boy was 18 years old, while his family claimed that he is still a minor.
A 22-year-old man was reportedly arrested in Bareilly after the father of a 20-year-girl alleged that the man had become friends with his daughter and was trying to “coax, coerce and lure” her to convert.
In another case in Muzaffarnagar district, according to PTI, a man called Nadeem and an accomplice of his were arrested on allegations of trying to force a married Hindu woman to convert. Nadeem, however, got reprieve when the Allahabad High Court directed the police not to take any coercive action against him.
The court, according to NDTV, pointed out that there was no evidence placed before it yet “that any force or coercive process is being adopted” by Nadeem.
In yet another case, a Hindu woman filed an FIR in Hardoi district’s Shahabad police station alleging that she was raped on the pretext of marriage and pressured to convert by a Muslim man called Mohammed Azad. Further, according to PTI, the woman alleged that she was being sold by Azad in Delhi.
Azad was, thereby, reportedly booked under the anti-conversion ordinance, as well as for rape.
According to The Print the man and the woman had gone to a local court in Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi, on 30 November to submit an application for marriage under the Special Marriage Act. However, she was reportedly picked from the court by her father who, according to The Print, “was informed” about her presence there.
The complaint came in on 10 December, and a senior police officer at the Shababad police station said to The Print: “It is a fact that the two were in love. She knew that he was a Muslim and went to the court to marry him.”
“Now that we received a complaint of forceful conversion, we registered the case and made the arrest. Whether it is justified or not, is for the court to decide. In such cases, the girl’s statement is sacrosanct.”
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