The 23-year-old woman whose alleged kidnapping led to a mahapanchayat in Shamli, where hate speeches were allegedly delivered in the presence of BJP and Congress leaders, today told a local court that she had married the accused after converting to Islam.
The woman also refused to go with her parents following which the court allowed her to leave with her husband Mohammad Asif’s brother-in-law.
Speaking to The Indian Express later, the woman said, “I told the court today that I had gone with Asif on my own. I also told the court I would be happy only with Asif.”
Identifying herself as Aksa Rani, she added that she had “embraced Islam” and that her “nikaah was performed with Asif at a mosque in Shamli in September-October”.
“We did not tell anyone about our marriage because I feared that my family would kill me. We decided to leave Shamli for a while and stay together following which we left for Delhi,” she said.
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Claiming that her husband had “all documents related to our nikaah”, she said, “As per our plan, Asif took a room on rent in Vasant Vihar in Delhi. On December 1, I took a bus and reached Baraut in Baghpat. From there, I took another bus to reach Loni in Ghaziabad where Asif was waiting for me. We hired a taxi and reached Vasant Vihar.
We were living there together when police arrived on December 25 and brought us to Shamli.”
Rani said she had grown close to Asif during the time he stayed on rent near her house in Shamli and that she was “well aware” that he was already married and had children.
Asif’s brother-in-law Waseem Rana said Rani will now “stay at the house of her father-in-law Mohammad Islam”. Since her return to Shamli, she had been staying at the district hospital.
The mahapanchayat, on December 25, had led to a police complaint being filed for alleged hate speeches delivered in the presence of BJP MP Hukum Singh, BJP MLA Suresh Rana, a local Congress leader, and VHP and Bajrang Dal activists.
The woman, who went missing on December 1, was traced by police in Delhi on December 25. Asif was accused by the woman’s family of kidnapping her with the intention of inducing her to marry him. Police later arrested Asif and his younger brother Mohammad Arshad — both are lodged in Muzaffarnagar district jail.
“The statement of the girl was recorded before the chief judicial magistrate in Muzaffarnagar today. The girl was a major, and she chose to go with the family of Asif,” said Naresh Pal Singh, Station House Officer, Kandhla police station.
Investigating Officer Sub-Inspector Dushyant Rana said, “But in her statement to police, the woman had alleged that she was taken to Delhi by the accused on the pretext of giving her a job. She had also stated that the accused had held her hostage in a room and raped her.”
Rana added that police would now verify the woman’s statement before the magistrate and move an application in court to discharge Asif and Arshad.
On December 25, Shamli police had arrested Jasveer Maharaj and his nephew Jitendra for making inflammatory speeches at the mahapanchayat.