Two months ago, when a 20-year-old Hindu woman alleged she was kidnapped, gangraped and forcibly converted to Islam, it had all of Uttar Pradesh on the boil. Her story became grist for the mill in the run-up to the state bypolls, fuelling a BJP campaign against what it calls “love-jihad in which Muslim men trick Hindu women into marriage and force them to convert”.
Ten persons, including the man she accused of tricking her, were arrested.
On Sunday, that story collapsed. The woman landed at a police station and retracted her statement, admitting she had eloped with the Muslim man she loved.
In a statement to city magistrate Satya Prakash Rai, she said she now feared for her life. Since she refused to return home or stay with any of her relatives, she was sent to a Nari Niketan.
The centrepiece of their campaign in tatters, Hindu outfits refuse to give up. They see a “conspiracy” in the U-turn by the woman.
Ajay Tyagi, convenor of the Hindu Behen Beti Bachao Sangarsh Samiti, claimed that “the district police are operating at the behest of the ruling party to save the culprits”.
“They want to spare them charges for serious offences. This is why the woman was forced to make such a statement. A Muslim man had been threatening her and her family that her brother would be killed if she did not make such a statement,” Tyagi alleged.
On Monday, the woman’s father turned up with his younger daughter at the Nari Niketan but they were not allowed to meet her.
The father demanded security cover for her saying she may be killed and that he would be accused of honour killing.
“My daughter was forced to give such a baseless statement. We apprehend that she may be killed, and I could be booked for honour killing. The police are working to to weaken the case of my daughter’s abduction, forcible conversion and gangrape. A complaint was lodged against ten persons on August 2,” he said.
The Hindu Behen Beti Bachao Sangarsh Samiti is backing the father. “Hum Hindu beti ko kisi keemat par police ke dabao mein doosre dharm ke logon ko nahin saunp sakte (We cannot hand over a Hindu girl to members of the other community under pressure from police),” Tyagi said.
“It was our samiti that moved court to seek police cover for the family. The local police were directed to provide them security,” Tyagi said. He alleged that two policemen, who stood guard, were withdrawn on Sunday morning to let the woman leave the home with a Muslim man.
SP (Rural) M M Baig, however, said that the security cover was withdrawn after the family made a request in writing to police.
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