A week after Nadiad town witnessed a bandh called by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) over the alleged “love jihad” after a Muslim bootlegger eloped with a 21-year-old Hindu girl, now, 25 kilometres away, Gangapur village of Kathlal taluka in Kheda district is witnessing a similar protest.
The local Kutch Kadva Patel community has submitted a memorandum to the taluka officer against the alleged “abduction” of a married Hindu woman by a married Muslim man from the village. The community members have warned the district administration that in absence of action against the man, the village will observe a bandh.
The police, however, said the two were in a relationship and it appears that the woman “voluntarily” accompanied the man.
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The memorandum submitted by the community to the district administration officer on Friday states that on June 15, Inayat Kanumiya Malek abducted a married woman from the village. A complaint in this regard has been registered at the Kathlal police station by the husband of the woman under Section 366 of the IPC.
However, Kathlal police say they will record the statement of the woman, who is the mother of three children, as part of the investigations. An investigating police officer said, “Our investigations have revealed that the woman and Inayat were in a relationship and she seems to have voluntarily accompanied him. Even the call record data of both the woman and Inayat have shown that they were in frequent touch for the last three years. Their last location was also same after which their phones have been switched off. We will have to record her statement first to ascertain if it is indeed abduction or not.”
Locals in the area are angered by the prospect of a Muslim eloping with a Hindu married woman from the village. A member of the Kutch Kadva Patidar community in Kathlal said, “It has become a practice for Muslim men to lure Hindu women. In this case, the woman has three young children who are dependent on their mother. Our worst fear is that this man might entice her to embrace Islam and marry her in another state where conversion laws are not as strict as Gujarat.” The convenor of the community from the area Dahyabhai Patel said that the memorandum was submitted by members of the community in his absence but the community was determined to resolve the matter and bring the woman back. “We are certain that we need police action in bringing back this lady safe and sound for her children.
The police are just sitting back although the husband has filed a complaint,” Patel said.
When contacted Kapadvanj SDPO Vijay Patel said, “We have registered the complaint of the husband on June 15. It was two days later that he informed us from his own finding that his wife had disappeared with this man Inayat. We have recorded his statement. Till the time the woman returns and records her statement about the incident, we will be unable to conclude the nature of the case. We are trying our best to locate the two.”