Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday directed senior officials of the state Home Department to prepare a plan to stop incidents of “love jihad”, following several such cases reported from different parts of the state, according to senior officials.
Love jihad is a terminology used by Hindutva groups to describe inter-religious marriages, which they allege involves conversion of the woman – either by force or guile – to marry a Muslim man.
According to officials, the direction came on the back of multiple incidents reported from Kanpur, Meerut, and a recent one in Lakhimpur Kheri, where the police claim there is evidence that the women were being forced to convert and marry.
“There are increasing cases of love jihad being reported from different parts of the state. Thus the Chief Minister instructed senior Home Department officials to prepare a plan to stop such incidents,” Mrityunjay Kumar, media adviser to Adityanath, said.
He said officials have been told to prepare a strategy and see whether a new law is required.
Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awaneesh Kumar Awasthi, who was part of the informal meeting, said: “This is a social issue. To stop it, they would have to be taken seriously – action needs to be taken against the accused, and we have to be harsh. These days, social media is available everywhere and it goes into the mind of others as well”
Awasthi said while modalities will be worked out, among issues being looked into is to make possible fast-track hearing of such cases, as a lot of these matters are pending in courts due to their coronavirus-induced closure. “The accused should not be allowed to get bail; then the woman’s family should be given monetary help, etc,” he said.
Asked if a new law will be brought in, Awasthi said that as of now the existing law would suffice, but it needs to be implemented properly.
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Recently, following several cases of inter-religious marriages in Kanpur’s Juhi Colony, the police had formed a special investigating team (SIT) to probe allegations of conversion – either by force or by “brainwashing” the women – before marriage. The SIT was formed after families of five women from Juhi Colony met senior police officials and sought help, alleging that the women were allegedly brainwashed into converting before marrying.
The recent incident being cited by the police took place in a village in Lakhimpur Kheri district earlier this week, where a teenage girl was found raped and murdered. The police later caught one Dilshad, who they say confessed to raping the girl and later slitting her throat following a heated discussion.
Call records of the victim’s cellphone showed she was in touch with Dilshad, according to the police.
Adityanath has directed invoking NSA, if required, in the Lakhimpur Kheri case.
In Meerut, one Shamshad was arrested in connection with murder of a mother-daughter duo and then burying them at their home. Since there was no other relative, a friend of the women filed the police complaint.
During investigation, the police said, it emerged that Shamshad had changed his name and allegedly projected himself as a Hindu before approaching the woman for marriage.
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