Video Producer: Mayank Chawla
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
‘There is a threat to Hinduism.'
‘Muslim men under conspiracy are trying to lure Hindu women into Love Jihad.'
'A stringent law is required to tackle it.'
These were the arguments that were put forward while tabling the law against religious conversion that was enacted in Uttar Pradesh in 2020.
However, a quick look at last year's data will shed some light on whether the law was envisaged to check a crime or harass a particular community.
According to the data accessed from the UP Police, a total of 108 cases under the new anti-conversion law were registered in the state between November 2020 and August 2021. No one has yet been convicted in any of these cases and most of them are either in the investigation stage or pending in court.
ANTI-CONVERSION LAW, A TOOL FOR MENTAL HARASSMENT
A total of 257 suspects were booked and 83 names came up during the investigation in the 108 cases registered across the state. According to the data, 56 suspects were wrongly named in these cases.
31 of the total cases relate to suspects being minors. A charge sheet has been produced in court in 72 of these cases, the investigation is pending in 24 and there are 11 such cases where police filed closure reports after they could not find evidence against the suspects during the investigation.
Under the new Anti-Conversion Act, a maximum of 28 cases were registered in the Bareilly zone followed by 25 in the Meerut zone. No case under the new law was registered in the Varanasi commissionerate.
The bottom line is, for two people in love, they, along with their families, have to undergo mental and physical harassment and are being punished without any charges being proved against them in a court of law.
Keeping their families, careers and relationship aside, they are drawn into legal battles with the state where eventually the process becomes the punishment.
Apart from the legal battle, they have to keep up with the parallel fight with right-wing organisations – the alleged custodians of Hinduism – who harass them in public, thrash them in court and a police station, with cops acting as silent spectators.
Several states began emulating UP after the anti-conversion law came into force. But the way this law has been used in UP raises serious concerns over the intentions of the government.