Aligarh police on Sunday night booked a woman and three others on charges of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, days after her sister married a man belonging to another community.
The police said that Ashiya alias Nazia held a press conference on Sunday and accused BJP leader and former Aligarh mayor Shakuntala Bharti of playing a vital role in her sister Faizy’s religious conversion. She also reportedly urged the Muslim community to “unite and seek revenge”.
Bharti denied playing any role in the conversion.
On Monday, Faizy got an FIR lodged against three persons — including her sister Ashiya and father Abdul Khalid — for allegedly threatening her and her husband.
In the case of promoting enmity, the police arrested Siraj, a businessman, and Faizan, who claims to be a journalist. A local court sent them to judicial custody, said Assistant Superintendent of Police, City, Abhishek. The other two accused — Ashiya and Mohammad Nazim — are reportedly on the run and police are conducting raids to trace them, he added.
Circle Officer, City, Anil Kumar said the accused allegedly attempted to disturb law and order by making objectionable comments with communal tone.
In her complaint, Faizy accused her sister and father of threatening her and her husband, and of beating and making casteist remarks against her husband, said Senior Sub-Inspector Jai Prakash. A case was lodged on charges including criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt. The SC/ST Act was also invoked, he said. No one has been arrested in this case.
According to the police, Faizy went missing on August 7, after which a complaint of kidnapping was filed by her family against one Rishabh Banwal (23), a Dalit. On August 14, the police found Faizy in Aligarh and she was produced in court.
Prakash said in a statement before the magistrate that Faizy admitted having married Rishabh and wanted to stay with him. The girl’s educational certificate, produced in court, confirmed her age as 20 years, said Prakash. On the court’s direction, Faizy went with Rishabh, Prakash added.
On August 16, Civil Lines police got information that Faizy’s sister Ashiya was holding a press meet at a house in Aligarh and trying to instigate people of one community.
“In her statement to media, Ashiya is heard blaming Shakuntala Bharti for religious conversion of his sister and asking people of Muslim community to unite and seek revenge,” SHO of Civil Lines police station Pramendra Kumar said. Minutes after the police arrived, the accused concluded the press meet.
Ashiya, Nazim, Siraj and Faizan were booked under IPC Sections 505 (2) (statement creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
The Epidemic Diseases Act was also invoked because the press meet took place during lockdown on Sunday, police said.
When contacted, Shakuntala Bharti denied playing any role in Faizy’s conversion. However, she said the family of the man had sought her help.
“The boy’s family claimed the girl’s family was harassing and threatening to kill them. I contacted senior police officials and requested them to help the boy’s family,” she said.
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