Updated: January 8, 2021 3:57:06 am
A MONTH after booking two Muslim daily-wage workers in Muzaffarnagar under the anti-conversion law, the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday told the Allahabad High Court that no evidence has been found against them under the new law, although one of them faces less serious charges such as criminal intimidation.
The case against Nadeem (28) and Salman (29) was lodged at Mansoorpur Police Station on November 29, a day after the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, came into effect.
In his complaint to police, Akshay Kumar, who works as a labour contractor at a firm in Uttarakhand, alleged that Nadeem used to visit his house, and that he trapped his wife in a relationship and tried to convert her to Islam. He alleged that Nadeem wanted to marry her after converting her and Salman was helping him. Akshay also alleged that both threatened him when he objected to it.
Joint Director (Prosecution) Awadhesh Pandey on Thursday filed an affidavit in the High Court on behalf of state government, stating that the investigating officer has found no evidence of any offence relating to provisions of the anti-conversion law.
During investigation, it was found that Nadeem did not have any illicit relationship with the woman, the affidavit said, adding that her statement had also been recorded. However, it was found that he had threatened the complainant, it said, adding that a chargesheet was filed against him accordingly.
The chargesheet was filed on December 31 and the investigator has not found any evidence under UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, said the affidavit.
Nadeem told The Indian Express: “I was falsely accused by the woman’s husband on ground of suspicion. To hide his wrongdoing, he made up a story and lodged a case against me. I am thankful to the UP government and police for helping me.”
His lawyer Syed Farman Ahmad Naqvi said the government’s affidavit stated that Salman has been given clean chit while no evidence under the anti-conversion law was found against Nadeem.
Station House Officer of Mansoorpur police station Kushal Pal Singh said the woman in her statement denied charges of any conversion attempt on her. She told the police that her husband wrongly suspected that she was in a relationship with Nadeem.
Singh said since there was evidence of threats, a chargesheet was filed against Nadeem under IPC sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
After the filing of the affidavit, the High Court, which had earlier stayed criminal proceedings against Nadeem, posted the case for fresh hearing on January 15.
On December 18, ordering a stay on the criminal proceedings, the court had said that the couple were adults with fundamental rights to privacy. “There is no material before us that any force or coercive process is being adopted by the petitioner to convert (the woman)… all the allegations are prima facie based on suspicion,” it had said.
Sixteen cases have been lodged in UP since the conversion law kicked in on November 28.
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