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First arrest in Madhya Pradesh under new anti-conversion law

The complainant alleged that Sohail Mansuri, who worked as a driver, identified himself as Sunny to befriend her and promised her marriage.

By: Express News Service | Bhopal |
January 20, 2021 2:35:28 am
It seeks to replace the ordinance promulgated in November last year that provides for imprisonment up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 for violators.

IN THE first such case in the state under the newly enacted Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020, police have arrested a 25-year-old Muslim man in Madhya Pradesh’s Barwani district following a complaint by a 22-year-old woman.

The complainant alleged that Sohail Mansuri, who worked as a driver, identified himself as Sunny to befriend her and promised her marriage. As she began avoiding him after coming to know about his real identity, Mansuri followed her to her workplace and abused and threatened her, the woman said in her complaint to the Kotwali police station on Sunday.

According to police investigation, Mansuri met the woman in Palsud block. Palsud police station in-charge Ranjana Thakur said the two became friends in 2016 but Mansuri had allegedly not revealed his identity. It was only recently that the woman – who had given consent to marriage – learnt that he was a Muslim and that he was already married with two children. After coming to know of this, she began avoiding him.

The woman moved from Palsud block to Barwani about a year ago but Mansuri continued to harass her by following her and allegedly blackmailing her. The woman then approached Kotwali police station where her statement was recorded by Inspector-in-charge Rajesh Yadav.

Yadav said, “We registered the offence and arrested Mansuri and then transferred the case to Palsud police station.” An offence was registered under Sections 376, 294, 323, 506 of the IPC and Sections 3 and 5 of the Freedom to Religion Ordinance 2020, which came into effect from January 9.

Under the new law, forcing religious conversion attracts 1-5 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 25,000.

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